June 18, 2024
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June 18, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Until he was 18 months old, Ari Goodman’s development was exactly what a parent would expect – he learned to crawl, stand and then walk, and he began saying words and phrases. Without warning, Ari began losing language, stopped playing with his toys and no longer responded to his name.

“It was when we started to lose him,” said his mother, Clara. “He stopped answering to his name and retreated into his own world. It was a very sad time for all of us.”

Ari’s diagnosis? Severe low-functioning autism.

“Ari is imprisoned within himself, trapped in his own body without a voice. I am his voice,” added Clara.

Clara and her husband, Daniel, a 1990 graduate of Frisch who grew up in Parsippany, explored every therapy available to Ari, praying that something would reach him. Nothing did.

“Therapies work from the outside in, but can only go so far. Stem cells heal from the inside out and allow the therapies to work,” Clara continued. “Once the stem cells start the healing process, the therapies can begin to sink in. Until then, therapy is useless.”

Stem cell therapy is a process available to treat a variety of conditions, and has proven successful in its treatment of autism. Duke University is currently doing a study on this process, which does not yet have FDA approval. However, the Stem Cell Institute in Panama treats patients regularly and, as Clara has witnessed, “the results can be miraculous.”

Stem cell therapy takes umbilical cord stem cells and injects them into the patient, with the goal being for these cells to heal and regenerate tissue in the brain and body.

“This is not temporary help, but rather true healing with no negative side effects. It effectively reboots the immune system,” said Clara. “At this point, there is no medication to give him. He just needs healing and the younger you are when you get this therapy, the quicker the body responds. Unfortunately, there is nothing for our son in this country.”

The stem cell therapy procedure costs $15,000, with at least another $5,000 needed for airfare, food and hotel costs during the week-long stay in Panama required for the treatment. This amount is daunting at best, impossible at worst.

“I tell Ari every day that ‘we are going to get your life back,’” Clara said. “I know there are no guarantees if or how much it will work for him, but we have to try. Ari has the potential for a future beyond our imagination and we need to give him every resource to help him.”

The Goodmans, residents of East Windsor, decided to appeal to their community and the greater Jewish community in their fight for Ari. They need help to raise the $20,000 needed to get Ari stem cell therapy in Panama.

“One Jew is responsible for another. Our struggle is everyone’s. We, as Jews, have an obligation to give tzedakah and what better than to invest in the future of a child,” Clara added.

Anyone wishing to make a tax deductible donation is requested to send a check to the Goodman’s synagogue, Congregation Toras Emes, at 639 Abbington Drive, East Windsor, NJ 08520. Checks should be made payable to Congregation Toras Emes, with ‘for Ari Goodman’ in the memo line. Contributions can also be made through Ari’s webpage at www.gofundme.com/aristemcelljourney.

By Jill Kirsch

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