Dreams Never Dreamed: A Mother’s Promise that Transformed Her Son’s Breakthrough
By Yocheved Golani
By Kalman Samuels
Reviewed by Yocheved Golani
An astonishing memoir of superb quality, we hear the author’s voice, not his editor’s, as Kalman Samuels explains the story of how Shalva, the Israel Association for the Care and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities, came to be. Hearts will dip, despair, and then soar to the heavens as readers learn of the realities involved.
They began with the marriage between a newly-Orthodox and highly educated young Canadian and his haredi-born Jerusalemite wife who never went to college. Her smarts, their shared hearts, and the devastating medical harm upon their son Yossi would result in historic ground-breaking therapies for thousands of disabled children from Israel and beyond. But it would take heartache, quite a bit of money, time, and several Only-in-Israel miracles to make those therapies available and accessible to people who desperately needed such help.
Israel’s decades-long history for the medical betrayal of defenseless citizens is on record. Fast-forward to Malki Samuels, the mommy gazing at her third-born baby in October 1977. Hours before his booster shot he’d demonstrated having reached appropriate milestones for his almost-one-year-old age at the Well-Baby Clinic. But Malki the mommy was wondering why her once-happy son Yossi suddenly looked listless, unresponsive, and desperately ill in his crib, hours after that DPT shot.
It would take until December 1977 for her and her husband Kalman to learn that Yossi had been poisoned by a known-to-be contaminated batch of DPT (diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus) vaccine intentionally used on babies across Israel. He was permanently blind and deaf. The Samuelses then legally fought with the colluding perpetrators of the crime, suffered several hellish financial setbacks, and sought resources to rehabilitate their deafened, blinded son who’d also been rendered incurably hyperactive.
One injection into the Samuels child had resulted in a lifetime of disabilities. No resources to help Yossi, or similarly affected children, existed back then. Israel was still trying to survive enemies across the Middle East and the deserts or swamps that had preceded the developing modern-day state. Even the Internet didn’t yet exist.
Everything that the parents would need to succor their son would have to be discovered with leg work, phone calls, flights around the world, and personal interactions. That would lead to other developments. Malki Samuels promised GOD in a prayer “… (Almighty) if You ever decide to help my Yossi, I will dedicate my life to helping so many other mothers of children with disabilities whom I know are crying with me for their children.”
Kalman Samuels explains, in heart-stirring words, how his wife put her promise into a lifetime of action. Laughter, tears of agony, health issues plus career changes for Kalman, and a marriage which thrived on genuine emuna leading to ever-stronger bitachon were the stuff of Shalva’s creation and success. Malki and Kalman helped their son to achieve goals far beyond the limitations of therapeutic interventions back then.
They strengthened each other, their other children, and built two Shalva Centers. One is a world-class model of how to help disabled children from around the world in fascinating ways. Children and their relatives who benefit from the ground-breaking therapies developed within Shalva’s “Inspiring hope, changing lives” walls made history after its debut and still set records. So did Yossi. He grew into a highly communicative, clever, happy, humorous, and productive adult with an obviously high IQ despite the medical harm done to him.
Malki’s heart and instincts told her what to do to help her son and people like him. Eloquent in simple words and with steadfast efforts, she made miracles happen. Find out how and why Israel’s Home Front Command asked her for guidance and permission to help disabled children during times of war. Learn why countless marriages between people with disabled children were saved because of Malki’s psychological insights.
Marvel at the reason why medical plus mental health professionals, fund-raisers and celebrities have been awed by Malki’s uncompromising vision to help disabled children plus the people who love them. She answers the “What can one person do alone?” question with class, a lifetime of courageous leadership. Kalman Samuels added the muscle that she needed to make her dreams realities. Together, they and Yossi set world records on many levels. Read Dreams Never Dreamed: A Mother’s Promise that Transformed Her Son’s Breakthrough from Toby Press. It will make a better person of you.
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About the Author
Yocheved specializes in issues related to medical crises: the stress, pain, anxiety and downward cascades they can portend. She explains that "Medical institutions tend to infantilize patients, worsening an already seriously deteriorating situation for anyone with a life-threatening condition. My goal is to prevent that from happening and to reverse course. I can help ill people to face their situations with confidence, sensible approaches and an increasingly stress-free mind. Medical evidence proves that people can live longer and/or more happily in such a state."
Ms. Golani's book, It's My Crisis! And I'll Cry if I Need To: EMPOWER Yourself to Cope with a Medical Challenge has helped readers worldwide to respond with increasingly better strategies, mindsets and dignity to life-altering medical problems. She is also an editor and writer for e-counseling.com.