Orthodox Jewish Family Turns To White House Petition Drive To Save Young Son's Life

  • HOUSTON, TX -- Right here in Houston, the Cohen family is waging war. A desperate war against a rare brain cancer that is bombarding their 6-year-old son Refael Elisha. Rabbi Jacob Cohen, Refael Elisha's father, explains, "This tumor just seems to be growing at a progressive rate that can't be stopped." Devorah Cohen, Elisha's mother, said, "My son's brain could turn off at any moment, he has a beast growing in there." Elisha has gone through all the known medical treatments; but doctors have told the Cohen family there is nothing more they can do. The Cohen's are not giving up hope. "We have to do every single thing that we can possible," said Rabbi Cohen. Their last-ditch hope is a controversial treatment, antineoplaston therapy; but the FDA has pulled approval of the drug pending further clinical trials. The Cohen's are pleading with the FDA to grant a "compassionate use exemption." Over 50,000 people have signed a petition intended to convince the FDA to so. "Without this, we don't have a lot of options out there. We want to have the chance and the opportunity to give my son this medicine that can hopefully save his life," said Devorah. In the meantime, the family is relying on every means to save their son. Faith and nightly community prayer, as well as changing his name, by adding the first name Refael (the angel of healing), according to Jewish custom. "If you change the name, you change the destiny," said Rabbi Cohen. Leaving nothing to chance, as they watch their son fighting for his life. Rabbi Cohen pleaded, "Hopefully, somehow, through some means, God will send us the cure and heal him."
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