Posted by Betty Ann Miller as told to Jon Federman

When I was a teenager, I survived Stage III Hodgkins, a lymphatic system cancer. The intensive year-long radiation and chemotherapy left me weakened and prone to chronic medical issues. Those challenges deepened my compassion for others and eventually drew me to JF&CS - first as a client and then as an active supporter.

In 2001, I participated as a client in a Jewish Healing Connections (JHC) spiritual support group for caregivers and people living with serious illness. I needed some professional emotional support for managing my daily life. Almost everybody has moments that are unbearable, but there are some of us who live in those times more often than not. That supportive experience was profoundly important to me at the time.

I was so impressed and moved by the program's mission that after my support group ended, I became a member of the newly created JHC advisory committee in 2002. I transitioned from someone who came to JF&CS to be helped to someone who could be a creator of the next wave of supportive activities for others. I personally feel very connected to the kinds of experiences that folks have when they're in difficult times. The opportunity to comfort, listen, and be present with another person in moments of loneliness or distress is profoundly meaningful. I feel honored to be part of JHC, whose mission is just that.

Many people don't have support systems, loved ones, resources, or community. I want to be one of the voices who says "don't forget them, help support them." I try to raise awareness and get people involved in helping others in the Jewish community who are dealing with the challenges of illness, loss, and isolation. I have always found great joy in human relationships, especially in times of need, and I would like to continue to make a difference by helping people who are facing trauma and crisis in their daily lives.

That is why I'm passionate about Jewish Healing Connections and JF&CS.

Jon Federman is the JF&CS Staff Writer. A practicing attorney for more than 15 years, he is thrilled to bring his legal and persuasive writing skills to the JF&CS Marketing Communications department. Jon has a BA from Tufts University and a JD from Boston College Law School. In his spare time he is an exhibiting photographer and an award-winning cartoonist. Jon lived in London, England for five years before returning to Boston in 2011.