A family has launched a desperate bid to try to save a critically ill cousin in Israel.
Karen Yefet and her two brothers grew up with their first cousin Liat in Ethiopia, as part of the small Adeni Jewish community in Addis Ababa.
In the 1980s the family dispersed around the world, with the siblings moving to Southgate, in North London, and their cousin’s family settling in Greece.
Now an experienced radiologist working at an Athens hospital, Liat Papantoniou, 48, was dealt a devastating blow in December when she was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer.
What made matters worse was that doctors informed her they had neither the expertise nor the facilities to treat the high-grade fibrosarcoma of the bone.
Eventually hope was found in Israel, where she has spent the last few months receiving treatment at the Sourasky Medical Centre in Tel Aviv.
Several rounds of chemotherapy later, she now requires complex surgery to remove the cancer and implant a prosthetic hip joint.
But as Mrs Papantoniou is a foreign national, the procedure and rehabilitation is expected to cost in excess of £85,000, a sum she and the family cannot meet alone.
According to Mrs Yefet, a mother of four and a member of the Ohel Devorah Adeni Synagogue in Southgate, the operation was due to take place last month but was cancelled at short notice due to lack of funds.
“The doctors in Israel really want to help her, they are desperate to help,” she told the JC. “But they don’t have the funds. It’s unbelievable, but at the end of the day that’s the system.
“We had been talking as a family about trying to raise money between us to help and then when it got to that stage where the operation was cancelled we panicked and thought we really have to do something now.”
Determined to help, Mrs Yefet and her family set up an online fundraising page under the banner “Save Liat”.
Mrs Yefet’s brother Jonny Mosesson wrote on the page: “I am raising money for my cousin Liat, who needs urgent lifesaving cancer treatment in Israel.
“Any donation will make a difference, so I am appealing to you all to please help save my cousin’s life.”
His words precede a message from Mrs Papantoniou herself.
She said: “I urgently need to raise £42,750 by the end of this month to ensure I am able to have this operation and another £44,200 for after care and further rounds of chemotherapy over the next couple of months.
“If I am unable to raise the funds, I will not be able to receive this life-saving treatment. My wish is to continue my life being a healthy committed mother and wife.”
Thousands of pounds have already flooded in to the online campaign, but much more is needed.
Mrs Yefet said: “It’s hard being so far away from family at times like these but people have been generous and even people who don’t know her have contributed.
“It reminds you that the essence of people is really kindness and that people do want to help.”