He was eight years old. Third grade is a time for small boys to learn multiplication tables in the classroom and how to pitch a ball in the schoolyard. But Naftali* had learned neither of these. Instead he learned about IV’s and scary hospital equipment, about hair falling out and about roommates who ‘disappeared’ never to return. Naftali had cancer. The medical staff called his parents in for a meeting. There was only one recourse left: a bone marrow transplant. It would save his life but a genetic match would have to be found soon or… it may be too late. Jews will genetically match other Jews and so Ezer Mizion was contacted. Ezer Mizion’s registry with close to a million potential donors is the largest Jewish registry in the world, but, for Naftali, it was not large enough. There was no match. Continue reading L’chaim! To Life
“Good morning. Is this Mr. Hyman? I’m calling from the bone marrow registry. You have been found to be a match for a cancer patient!”
I was sitting in my office when I received that call. I had been tested sometime around 1998 and had not thought about that day in years. Then, quite literally, out of the blue, I was asked if I would be willing to go through further testing to confirm that I was a match for “the patient.”
My response was simple: tell me what to do!! The caller from the registry went through some basic info and made sure to tell me that while the procedure for me as a potential stem cell donor, was safe, it was still my choice and “are you sure you want to go through this process?” Continue reading So You Got A Call To Be A Stem Cell Donor?
BONE MARROW DONOR REGISTRY ACTIVITY SUMMARY
34 transplants, 28 from donor pools
3,230 total transplants (of these 1,965 from the IDF)
985,186 members in registry (of these 544,281 from the IDF)
Argentina, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, UK, USA
Donor Pool Countries
Brazil, Canada, Israel, USA
“His face lit up” – a phrase so often found in stories of someone who received something he never expected. What does it mean? How does a face light up? Surely it is the spirit inside him that is generating the electricity.
If that is the case, then joy would be the prescription to raise the spirits of those demoralized by serious illness. Rx: fun. Happiness and chemo working in tandem. Body and spirit together engaged in the battle for life.
Ezer Mizion’s Cancer Support Division incorporates this truism into its Battle Plan with fun days for mothers, trips for kids, birthday parties, make-a-wish outings and so much more.
Harel was a case-in-point. Close to his father, the two enjoyed doing things together. One of his father’s favorites was running. Feeling the wind, the rush of adrenalin, the flush of reaching the finish line. Pure joy. And sharing it together was the icing on the cake.
The Annual Petach Tikva Run was scheduled. His father was one of the first sign up. But this time, there’d be no young son beside him, sharing the elation. Harel longed to be there. Oh, how he longed to be there. But a monster had taken over his life in the form of an illness, curable only with a bone marrow transplant. The transplant had taken place recently and Harel was beginning to mend. But running? Out of the question!
Out of the question but feelings don’t ask questions. They just feel. And Harel was feeling miserable. An emotion not very conducive to strengthening his body.
Enter Yumi, one of the most beloved members of the Cancer Support team. Yumi never sees ‘no’. He just sees ‘how’. How can it be made possible for Harel to join the race together with his father? Nothing is simple when it comes to a transplant. But Yumi is used to that. He met with Harel’s father. Tossed out possible plans. Brought the plans to a meeting with physicians. Changed, refined, re-did. Met with the race organizers. Back to the physicians. And soon. There it was. A real plan. One that he hoped would work.
The day arrived and there is Yumi. As excited as Harel and his father. Video camera on hand, recording every moment. Cheering, cheering, cheering! The lanes are filled with runners. And there is Harel’s father also running, pushing a wheelchair in front of him. Grinning behind his face mask sits Harel absorbing the excitement in the air. They’re almost there. The finish line is in sight. They stop and Harel exits the wheelchair, stands behind it and begins to push. The wheelchair supports him. His father’s shouts support him. And Yumi’s continued cheering supports him. There he is crossing the finish line with the rest of them. Way to go, Harel!
Keep running, young man. Keep running until you reach the finish line, until you reach perfect health and can do all the things you long to do. We’re all behind you, cheering you on, Harel. Keep running!
She’s back. Our data processer is back in her usual seat, glued to her computer as usual. Entering the data of recent donations to Ezer Mizion’s Bone Marrow Registry. Doing her part to help save lives around the globe. As if everything were normal. As if she had not just now come back from Israel. As if she herself had not just donated her stem cells to save the life of a middle-aged woman with AML.
But there’s a difference. There’s a glow on her face. While her co-workers continue their varied tasks to benefit the Registry, she, a young girl, had experienced something that most people can only dream of. She had saved a life.
We’ll let her tell you her story. Continue reading What Was It Like?
Ezer Mizion has always worked on two fronts. The organization provides services for those undergoing crises in their lives such as families dealing with serious illness, special children, an elderly or Alzheimer parent or a member dealing with mental health challenges.
In addition, some difficulties can be prevented, surmounted or ameliorated by means of educational programs offered to families and professionals. Authoritative, up-to-date information will enlighten those involved presenting informative, insightful elucidation of the situation. The family and professionals become empowered with a greater understanding of the disorder which leads to identifying means of overcoming the difficulties or at least preventing exacerbation of the state of affairs.
Ezer Mizion’s preschool division is a prime example. The organization has developed a much-lauded program which serves to shed light during the preschool years on difficulties that would interfere with the child’s success in his later education. Means of identifying the problems and lessening or eliminating them form the crux of the program. The informational syllabus is being brought to preschools across the length and breadth of Israel. The following letter written by a grateful preschool director is one of the many received. Continue reading A Letter Meant for You, Our Dear Friends and Supporters
Ezer Mizion’s Mental Health Department has hosted one of its many informational evenings. The subject of this recent event was on Mental Health and Marriage. Questions such as when is marriage recommended for someone dealing with mental health issues, what type of spouse to look for, how to maintain a happy, healthy home were addressed. Continue reading Strike A Match – Part 2
May 2019 – BONE MARROW DONOR REGISTRY ACTIVITY SUMMARY
26 transplants, 20 from donor pools
3,196 total transplants (of those, 1,936 from the IDF)
982,648 members in registry (of those, 544,015 from the IDF)
Argentina, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, USA
Donor Pool Countries
Brazil, Canada, Israel, Switzerland, USA
Continue reading Because of You!
Ezer Mizion’s Strike A Match Division, under the able leadership of Mrs. Reisner, continues to make a difference in the lives of so many who approach the search for a marriage partner with a major strike against them. Continue reading When the Mazel Tov Seems So Far Away
Let’s define ‘big’. When speaking about a business, does it refer to a company whose offices fill a large, imposing building? Or perhaps a company with branches around the world? Or does it, perhaps, refer to a company whose heart is big enough to see past the bottom line and put effort into the needs of the population that support it? Continue reading What Is Big?