MDA: ‘Matter of life and death’

Racheli Cohen is the guest speaker at MDA’s main campaign event.

AS a first responder and ambulance driver with Magen David Adom (MDA), Racheli Cohen’s husband was often seen helping others. 

But 13 years ago, when he collapsed in the front yard, Cohen was required to give her husband CPR.

Having worked as an MDA youth volunteer, she had some medical training, but more recently had been working in a largely administrative role.

“The chance to be saved from CPR is very low,” explained Cohen, whose husband unfortunately did not make it through.

Sharing how the experience set her on a path she had long sought to pursue, Cohen will speak at MDA’s “Heroes in Focus” next Wednesday, August 14 at the Entertainment Quarter – one of many events in the organisation’s annual fundraising campaign.

“I found myself, at the age of 27, a widow with three young children, and I made a decision during the shiva that I am going to become a paramedic,” Cohen said. “This was always a dream of mine.”

Cohen recently finished her paramedic training, and many of the incidents she responds to are similar situations to the predicament her late husband faced.

Cohen went on to explain why she feels passionate about being a paramedic. “The everyday work is great, I love it the most because it is very close to people in times they need you the most,” she remarked. 

“You have to stay passionate, keep studying, keep pushing yourself to get better because at the end of the day, our work – it sounds cliched, but it’s true – is a matter of life and death.”

The scenarios that MDA paramedics face on a daily basis are a key aspect of this year’s campaign, and to illustrate this point an episode from Ambulance Israel will be screened on the night.

“It will really take people into the lens of the MDA paramedic,” said CEO of the Australian Friends of MDA, Doron Lazarus.

“MDA’s team is on the front line during terrorism and rocket attacks, risking their own lives to save others. Over and above that, each and everyday they are quite literally the beating heart of Israel, saving lives and having a really profound impact.”

In what Lazarus believes is a community first, fundraising will be conducted in real time, with a live thermometer bar tracking donations. Funds will be put towards an ambulance and medicycle valued at $165,000 and, if reached, a donor will match the amount.

The event will start at 7pm on August 14, with the Young MDA event, hosted by MDA and I-Society, beginning at 6pm. Tickets: $45 (members), $55 (non-members) at events.humanitix.com.au/mdamain2019 or (02) 9358 2521.

SOPHIE DEUTSCH