At Ezer Mizion’s busy office, the phone does not stop ringing. At times, it is the ubiquitous telemarketing call. Other calls may be requesting information about the bone marrow registry. Some calls can be as brief as several sentences but leave the staff member stunned. Like this one received by Chani :
“Where were you 45 years ago? When my son needed a bone marrow transplant? I took my two daughters to be tested at UCLA but they were not a genetic match.” Then her voice faltered, “Before we could try more people, my son— my son—- my son died.” Her voice broke but she tried to continue speaking, “I want to give you a donation. Your organization is so important. I only wish it had been in existence 45 years ago. Perhaps he could have received a bone marrow transplant. Perhaps he could have been saved.” She was overcome by tears and hung up the phone. The pain of losing a child does not disappear, even after 45 yrs.
That’s why Ezer Mizion’s Bone Marrow Registry was founded. For people like this lady’s son. People with Jewish ethnicity who need a DNA match to save their lives. Ezer Mizion’s Bone Marrow Registry receives calls from oncology clinics around the world and has saved over 2600 lives with genetically matching donors from its 850,000 registrants.
Matan was only ten years old when he was diagnosed with leukemia. A diagnosis of MDS soon followed. By age twelve, his bone marrow was deteriorating and it was soon obvious that without a transplant, he would not turn 13. Would a DNA match be found? In time?
Matan was one of the fortunate ones. Yifat was a newly married young girl. Years ago, she had registered with Ezer Mizion’s Bone Marrow Registry, never expecting to actually be called. But the call did come. It was she who could save the life of Matan, a young boy who would later mature and marry, producing his own children. “I went insane with joy,” she describes the day she received the call. “Of course I said yes.”
Yifat, now expecting her first child, met Matan for the first time recently. “I’m feeling great!” Matan fairly shouted when Matan asked him. “Of course, I plan to go to your simcha when the baby is born. We’re sister and brother now. Your blood is in me.”
It is no longer 45 years ago when patient after patient died while waiting for a DNA match to be found. Matan had a lovely Bar Mitzvah celebration. It was tears of joy that were shed by his parents as they thought to themselves, “What if there had been no Ezer Mizion?”