A Bone Marrow Transplant between Strangers or Perhaps…

people helping people around globe
New registrants for Ezer Mizion’s International Bone Marrow Registry whose ancestors hailed from all over the globe.

 

Imagine having an airplane view of the entire world. Not only the world but of generations. What would you see? You’d immediately notice the hubbub in America as Ezer Mizion launches a nationwide campaign to raise funds to sponsor genetic testing for thousands of new potential donors to register at its Bone Marrow Registry. The money pours in. You all give so generously.  The funds are transferred to Israel to pay for the cost of the testing. The genetic data of these young men and women is entered to remain on the database for decades.

Now your eyes flit to the right and you see sadness. Such sadness. Jonathan, a young father in South Africa has just been diagnosed. His children are not even grown yet. There are weddings to dance at. Grandchildren to read stories to. Up until now all this has been taken for granted. But no longer. They will happen but he might not be there. The doctors have tried many treatments. There only remains a bone marrow transplant which cannot take place until a DNA match is found. Right now the procedure can be successful. Later may be too late. His siblings are not a match. Will a match be found among strangers?

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A perfect genetic match

There’s a loud buzz. You glance to the left. In Israel, a search is being conducted at Ezer Mizion’s Jewish Bone Marrow Registry.  Emergency. A genetic match is needed for a young father in South Africa. Tension. All eyes are focused on the computer. Then smiles. Excitement. Joy.   Liron, one of the new registrants, is a perfect match.

The news is quickly relayed. The joy spreads across the ocean. Jonathan and his family dance. Once again, happiness reigns in this young home.

And they question.  His siblings were not a genetic match but a perfect stranger is? Is she perhaps not a stranger after all?

From your view above the skies, your eyes travel back…back…back. You see Jonathan’s grandparents living in Latvia, in Lithuania. They have large families. Their children marry and raise their own families.

You spot a young woman in France dissolved in tears. She is Liron’s grandmother. The child she has carried for nine months has died. Or so they tell her. She strongly suspects that the hospital staff is lying. But she is helpless. Was the child alive? Did he grow up and marry a girl whose family originated from Eastern Europe? So many questions. The answers lie hidden in the mysteries of time…

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Stem cell transplant being prepared

And so Liron, a perfect stranger in Israel – or maybe not such a perfect stranger after all – saved the life of Jonathan in South Africa. It’s twenty months later. His blood counts are perfect and have been since the transplant. He’s planning a vacation in Israel together with his family this Pesach (Passover). The highlight will be meeting Liron. The two will talk. They’ll share family history. Perhaps more light will be shed on the mystery then. If so, we will certainly share it with you, dear reader.

But most important, Jonathan’s life has been saved. Liron couldn’t be happier. It is her blood that is flowing through his veins. Perhaps they were strangers before but now they are strangers no longer.

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