Miracle Man’s miracle family | AspenTimes.com

Miracle Man’s miracle family

Dear Editor:

This letter is being written in response to Scott Condon’s article ” Aspen’s Miracle Man Raife Bass,” which appeared Sunday, July 20, 2008. It was a good story about a real miracle, but sadly a great story was missed!

Raife’s miracle did not happen in a vacuum as Mr. Condon would have the reader think. Raife had a very large support group of loving family and friends who would not leave his side when it was thought he was dying and have been there for him over the past three years. Too many people gave too much of themselves not to have even been mentioned or honored in the story!

As a close friend of Howard Bass, Raifie’s father, and his wife Michele Bodner, I consider myself a “supporter of the support group.” Even though I was not in L.A., I have lived through the past few years with them and am really indignant at and saddened by the oversights in the story.

For the first 35 days Raitie was in the L.A. hospital, his father and wife and his mother, Mary Bereska, and her husband, George, were with him constantly. Also, Raifie’s Aspen friends Rob Bordan, Scott Duryea and Rick Schultz left full-time jobs and families to be in L.A. with him.

Raifie is much loved and, as the article stated, 25 friends flew in from all over to say good-bye when it was thought he was dying. But it was not mentioned that 10 of Raifie’s friends moved into a hotel across the street from the hospital for three weeks and that all these people, parents and friends, were with Raifie 24/7, two people at a time on two-hour shifts. He was never left alone.

Thirteen months prior to Raifie’s becoming ill, his father Howard was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and was, and still is, fighting his own battle with cancer. None the less, it was Howard who was calling worldwide to find a lung for transplant when it was thought that that was Raifie’s only hope to live.

After the first 35 days in the hospital, Raifie was moved to USC for rehab for another 35 days. This center was an hour to two hours away, depending on traffic, from the Sr. Bass’ apartment, but Mary, George, Howard or Michele Bodner was with Raifie for every meal during his stay. After his release, Raifie lived with his parents in L.A. before he was able to return to Aspen, and his four parents continued to care for him.

In 2007, for the five-plus months while Raifie had chemo in preparation for a stem cell transplant, and during and after it, it was the four parents who again cared for him around the clock.

Yes, this is a story about a family, but not only the immediate family of four but the whole family. They were there constantly for Raifie and when Michele Bass, Raifie’s wife, came to L.A., with or without her sons, Raife’s four parents were there for her also.

It is beyond my comprehension how so many people, family and friends, could have given such an enormous gift of love and caring, not to mention months and years of their own lives.

Jill P. FInk


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