When a drunk driver in Israel killed her husband, and left her 15-year-old son with burns covering 75 percent of his body, Rita Gold desperately searched for help.
She found a woman on Staten Island who answered her email which read: "We searched your website, and learned about the humanitarian assistance you provide, and the enormous efforts of your noble institution in saving lives of children all over the globe."
And thanks to Elissa Montanti's The Global Medical Relief Fund , observing its 15th anniversary this year, Guy Gold became one of 169 badly injured children from the U.S., and around the world, to receive the kind of comprehensive treatment and rehabilitation not available, even in a country with an advanced medical system like Israel.
In late August, GMRF sponsored, and funded, the trip from Tel Aviv to Boston, which included international air travel, housing, accommodations and logistics for Guy and Rita, and Dr. Josef Haik of Sheba Hospital in Tel Aviv, a medical assistance team, and Guy's two sisters. Guy is now receiving free medical care at the Shriners Hospital for Children, one of the world's leading burn treatment centers for children.
While one would expect Israel, with its long history of armed conflict, to have state of the art burn treatment facilities, the country does not have a national burn center to administer the kind of care that the Shriners Hospital is equipped to provide.
Ms. Montanti's memoir I'll Stand By You, now available in a new paperback version, describes the personal journey of "one woman's mission to heal the children of the world".
Many of the children Ms. Montanti and GMRF have helped, are amputees from natural disasters and war zones in Afghanistan, Haiti, Iraq, Libya, the United States and around the world. These children receive free, on-going medical and rehabilitative care until they turn 21.
Emilie Hoffer-Brzezinski, who spent time working with the children of GMRF, and her mother Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC's Morning Joe, recently produced and hosted a highly successful fundraising event in New York, which was attended by Arianna Huffington, Willie Geist, Gayle King and Donny Deutsch among other luminaries.
The latest country to be touched by the assistance of GMRF is now Israel, as Guy Gold receives the intensive care he needs at Shriners Hospital in Boston.
And although Elissa Montanti doesn't speak Hebrew, she is a shining example of the phrase: "Tikkun olam," which translates to: "Repair the world." This is what Ms. Montanti and GMRF are doing, one child at a time.
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