Ellen Bock asks the community for help
Photo: Ivy Tenenbaum Photography
Ellen Bock spends three hours going through dialysis treatments each Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning before going to work at the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas.

By Deb Silverthorn

“As long as you have your health…,” most of us say. But the ability to sustain health and life for ourselves and those we are responsible for often takes a hit when health becomes an issue. Ellen Bock, a lifelong member of this community and longtime Jewish communal worker, has taken that hit and it is rough.

Bock, who last year suffered a medical procedure that left her in kidney failure, was recently informed that a living nonrelated donor has proven a successful match and agreed to donate their kidney. The great news is that Bock is expected to recover — and her health insurance covers costs for herself and the donor — but for her to recover properly she is likely to require missing between two and three months of work. As she is the sole provider for herself, one of her daughters and a grandson, she is under almost unfathomable stress.

To alleviate financial stress in the wake of her health crises and imminent recovery, Bock is reaching out for support through a GoFundMe account.

“I am so grateful to the stranger who is donating this kidney, truly giving me back the gift of life,” said Bock. “I expect the surgery sometime in the next few weeks. I’m excited and ready and want to get well but there is so much more to worry about.

The daughter of Helen and Abe Bock, of blessed memory, the mother of Lisa Stoutmeyer and Shauna Stein and the grandmother of Asher Stoutmeyer, Ellen is a lifelong member of Temple Emanu-El. The former BBG Kravitz chapter member is a graduate of Hillcrest High School and The University of Texas at Austin.

Until Aug. 10 of last year, Bock was the longtime greeter and receptionist at the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, with a second job selling Nespresso on the side. But having survived Hodgkin’s lymphoma, stage 4B, and its healing regimens several years ago, she developed a blockage in her kidneys. Two hours after a procedure to alleviate the blockage, she was back in the emergency room and all but at death’s door.

A complication during the procedure ultimately caused both of her kidneys to fail. She spent 10 days in the intensive care unit at the hospital and had three surgeries before a successful port for dialysis access was accomplished. Her new life’s schedule has included going to dialysis three days a week, before work, for three hours each session.

Photo: Courtesy Ellen Bock
“I’d give almost anything to not have to ask anyone for help,” said Ellen Bock, looking for financial assistance in the wake of kidney failure and with an imminent transplant in her future.

“This money isn’t for life’s extras. It’s literally for food, for rent and to help pay my insurance,” says Bock, who at press time had raised $20,477 of the $35,000 she’s hoping to raise. While Bock’s position at the Federation is protected under the Family Medical Leave Act, after using her two weeks of paid time off she doesn’t know how she’ll support her family.

In addition to her medical and family concerns, Bock is being forced to move from the home she’s rented for more than seven years. Black mold has been identified; the owner has not stepped up to make repairs. For the sake of her health and that of the family members who live with her, Bock is making an unplanned move that is certain to cost money she just doesn’t have.

“I’d give almost anything to not have to ask anyone for help, but I am grateful to the friends and many people I don’t even really know so well who are helping,” said Bock. “To anyone who helps, I say ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you.’”

In January, Bock was one of six area residents, each suffering from renal failure, who participated in a swabbing drive hosted by Renewal. As Bock’s matched donor remains anonymous, if and until they choose to come forward, it is unknown if the match was made through Bock’s initial registration through Medical City Dallas or with Renewal.

“It’s been nine months to remember. We went from having a mom who went from having been a cancer survivor, working and giving it her all, to sitting in the hospital’s emergency room — not being allowed to be with her because she was so physically ill — praying she’d survive,” said Stein. “We thought again that we might lose her. She’s struggled so much through dialysis, having to surrender her second job and the income it provided. She is thankful and happy about the donor, but there is so much to worry about.

“Life throws curveballs,” added Stein. While we couldn’t have foreseen any of this, we will somehow meet the challenge and absolutely appreciate anyone who can help, however so, along the way.”

To help support Ellen Bock, visit tinyurl.com/Ellen-Bock-GoFundMe.

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