Cancer Donation

ICA takes Shape

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One morning Mrs. Kimchi sat down to breakfast with her husband, picked up the newspaper and saw on the front page a picture of Mr. Abba Eban, then Israeli Ambassador, and his wife returning to Israel.

 

She immediately said to her husband: "That's it. We've found the right person. She'll be our Ambassador". She spoke with Dr. Hirsh and Prof. Berenblum and they agreed of course.

 

In the mid-1950's, Mrs. Suzy Eban, of blessed memory, responded to the call of Prof. Isaac Berenblum, the first Director of the Department of Cancer Research at the Weizmann Institute, and one of the founders of the ICA. Prof. Berenblum requested her assistance in leveraging the ICA's activity, as well as her help in further expanding its efforts to conduct activity on a national scale.

 

In 1958 there was the need for support in the managerial sphere. The organization placed an ad in the paper to which Mrs. Miriam Klein responded. At first she served as secretary of the ICA, then assumed the position of Director, taking over for Mrs. Kimchi; she remained on the Executive Committee. 

 

Mrs. Suzy Eban officially became President of the ICA in 1959. She served in this position with determination, great faith and single minded devotion, until she retired from active service in 1998, after 40 years of broad-based activity.  

 

During her presidency, Suzy enlisted several professionals and public figures and well-known personalities, who assisted her in transforming the ICA into a leading national organization that aimed to reduce cancer morbidity and mortality in Israel by advancing the fight on all fronts - through research, by promoting preventative measures and early detection, enhancing treatment modalities and rehabilitation, and coordinating efforts at a national scale, geared toward cancer patients, survivors and the public at large.

 

As the wife of a statesman, Suzy Eban used her name, status and many personal ties and connections in Israel and around the globe to her advantage, addressing herself to individuals holding key positions in the business, medical, and financial worlds, and thanks to her persistence and her engaging personality, she leveraged the ICA and transformed it into a spearhead in the fight against cancer diseases in Israel. 

 

Upon her appointment as President, Mrs. Eban began raising funds from her friends abroad and with their help established worldwide Friends of ICA chapters. These chapters raised funds to run programs and projects at oncology centers throughout Israel for the welfare of cancer patients. Under her leadership, the ICA became Israel's most prominent volunteer organization, and a highly reputed and professionally managed association, both on a national and international scale. ICA became affiliated with the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC). And as the years passed, ICA's budget and personnel grew, and the organization established ties with hospitals and various healthcare funds.

 

ICA's Executive Committee heard about the Door Knock fundraising campaign for heart diseases held in Australia. And that's how the first ICA Door Knock fundraising campaign got off the ground in 1960, organized and led by Mrs. Suzy Eban. Ever since then, this campaign has become a milestone in educating youth toward giving, and promoting health education in schools and among the general population. To achieve this end, she enlisted the media to promote the issue and persuaded then President of Israel, Mr. Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, of blessed memory, to serve as Israel Cancer Association Patron. Thanks to her efforts, from that day forward, the Presidents of Israel officially opened the ICA's annual "Door Knock" fundraising campaign, and continue to do so to this very day, at a moving gala ceremony held at the President's Residence in Jerusalem.   

 

Just as planned, with the professional foundation already in place, Mrs. Suzy Eban could enter the scene and promote the Israel Cancer Association, introduce the organization to the general public, and give it momentum to move forward.

 

Since then the ICA has developed in different directions and on an international scale. The "Door Knock" fundraising campaign and generous donations enabled broad-based professional activity. The outstanding staff under the direction of Mrs. Suzy Eban and Mrs. Miriam Klein, followed by Mrs. Miri Ziv in 1992, developed the Association into an organization we can be proud of.

 

Mrs. Miriam Klein established the Israel Cancer Association's Telemeida tele-information service in the 1980s when she received all the cancer-related public information material from various volunteer organizations abroad. ICA translated this material into Hebrew and then established a computerized database that helped Mrs. Klein monitor and collect information.  

 

Mrs. Miriam Klein recalls: "When I began to work at the ICA I didn't know what lay in store for me. But everything I have accomplished has served a purpose and has yielded results over the years. When I began working at the ICA there were two Breast Clinics in the entire country. One was located in Haifa and the other in Tel Aviv, Dr. Hirsh's clinic. As time went by, due to the increasing need and heightened public awareness, thanks to ICA activity, more and more clinics sprung up". Throughout the years, the fight against breast cancer became one of ICA's primary causes.

Mrs. Eban and Mrs. Klein

 

The late Mrs. Suzy Eban (on the left) and Mrs. Miriam Klein

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