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Published on August 9th, 2017 | by LedgerOnline

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Rabbi Rachel Cowan, diagnosed with brain cancer, messages Congress

(JTA) – In 1990, Rabbi Rachel Cowan co-founded the Jewish Healing Center, a pioneer in a Jewish healing movement that provides spiritual resources and wisdom to help people deal with the suffering that surrounds personal loss and serious illness. And, as the longtime director of the Jewish Life and Values Program at the Nathan Cummings Foundation in New York, she helped direct grants for programs that addressed the spiritual dimensions of serious illness.

Now, Cowan, who is 76 and a senior fellow at Auburn Theological Seminary, is facing a serious illness of her own. In a video posted on YouTube on July 20, the New Yorker reveals that in February she was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. It is the same grim diagnosis Sen. John McCain received last month.

In the video, she appears to address members of Congress considering the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, urging them to preserve Medicare, which critics say would be diminished under some Republican plans.

“I have received excellent, excellent treatment. ” Cowan explains in the two-minute video. “I have been very comfortable with all the services I have received from Medicare.” Then she considers what she would have done without it:

“Last week I was back in the hospital for another series of treatments and I woke in the middle of the night and I thought to myself, “Oh my goodness, there are people who want to take this away. I will die without it. There’s no possible way, I and [30,000] people who have glioblastoma, not to mention the millions with all other kinds of cancer – prostate, breast, ovarian…. We all – our lives really depend on Medicare. So I urge you please to talk to your constituents, to hear what they feel about this, to see what their feelings are, why it matters so much. And step into the pictures. You have a huge possibility of helping us … our lives are actually in your hand. So if you would pay attention I would be so grateful.


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