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Publication: THE RECORD
Date: December 5, 2006
Writer: DEENA YELLIN


GRIEVING MOM STARTS STARTS CANCER CHARITY

There was love in Noah’s toothy grin and exuberant giggle. There was love in his hugs and jokes. And there was love in the help that poured in from friends and strangers as he suffered from cancer.

Noah Price died last year at age 3. But amid the pain, the love goes on.

It shines through the work of his mother, Lisa, who started the Noah’s Gifts Foundation to help families with children battling cancer and other chronic illnesses. And the love is plainly visible among the volunteers who cook meals, provide emotional support, do errands and contribute funds to help the families.

“There are people sitting in hospital rooms who are struggling,” said Price, who conceived the non-profit group as she sat at her son’s bedside. “I know what they are going through, so it’s important to me to ease their burden. It’s too much to bear alone.”

The foundation’s latke sale, Latkes For Love, raises funds to help offset medical and daily living expenses for families of sick children. Orders can be placed on the group’s Web site at noahsgifts.org until Thursday.

Price also launched a jewelry business, Jewels for Life, which contributes roughly 20 percent of profits to the foundation. Her jewelry -- an assortment of gold, silver and genuine gemstones -- can be found at boutiques and trunk shows throughout North Jersey.

Noah’s Gifts helps families across the country regardless of religious or ethnic background, said Shulamis Mayerfeld, the foundation’s vice president. On an average, the group helps four families a month with everything from emotional support to daily living and medical expenses, she said.

But Price dreams of making Noah’s Gifts a household name. “I can’t turn my back on these people,” said Price, a podiatrist who left the workforce when her son was diagnosed. “I wouldn’t be able to sleep if I didn’t do this.”

A year after her son’s death, Price still feels grateful to the angels who held her up during her son’s illness. They cooked meals for her family, shopped for groceries and even brought clothing for her two daughters, ages 4 and 10, so she could spend every precious minute with Noah. “People from faraway communities found out about us and came to help us. Many of them didn’t even know us. They performed random acts of kindness. I feel like I must know the greatest people in the world,” Price said.

Noah was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor when he was 3 months old. He underwent surgery and chemotherapy, and then more surgery. Against all odds, he defeated the brain tumor. But at age 3, he was diagnosed with leukemia and he passed away in October 2005.

Despite his trials, he was a happy boy, Price recalls. “He was always smiling, and he had a great sense of humor.”

Esther Cohen of Brooklyn, whose 10-year-old son Aaron has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, praises the foundation as a major source of support. “As the mother of a very sick boy, with many medical issues I often have to deal with a maze of bureaucrats to get the medical supplies he desperately needs, often paying out of pocket because I can’t get the coverage.”

One phone call to Price changed everything, said Cohen. Within 24 hours, Price got the supplies Cohen needed and delivered them to her home. The foundation is also subsidizing home care to help her child live at home, which insurance doesn’t fully cover, Cohen added.
“Lisa has turned her tragedy into something positive. By helping out other families who are caring for sick children she is bringing smiles to many kids and parents,” Cohen said.

Many clients are so grateful, they can’t thank Price enough. They write her letters and call her. Price just nods and tells them not to thank her. “Believe me I know how grateful you are,” she tells them. “I feel the same way.”

E-mail: yellin@northjersey.com

 
 
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