Now That’s A Birthday Gift!

pr bmr Yakov-Avishai
My stem cells saved Avishai!

It’s funny. We’re so happy to have our family members that when one of them has a birthday, we give him a gift. Shouldn’t we instead be giving a gift in gratitude to the One who gave us a family? Like Yaakov did?

Let’s start at the beginning.  This story is about a little boy named Avishai. Avishai was born with a blood disorder and received blood transfusions on a regular basis. His physicians had hoped that the transfusions would effect a cure but it didn’t happen. Now the parents were informed that there was nothing more that can be done, except for one more procedure: a bone marrow transplant. A transplant could save young Avishai’s life but only if a genetic match were available. Family was tested but there was no match. The medical staff then turned to Ezer Mizion and his parents held their breath and prayed like they’ve never prayed before. He was only two. Would he never turn three? Never…never… Such a harsh word. So final.

To their utter joy and disbelief, there was a match! It was Yaakov, who gladly took time off from his very busy schedule as VP of Development at Ariel University to donate stem cells for little Avishai. We’ll let Yaakov fill you in on his thoughts when he received the call.

“When I received the call from Ezer Mizion, I was sure they were asking for a donation. Ezer Mizion is an organization that does so much. I was ready to send them a check when I realized it was a different kind of donation they were asking for. They were telling me I was a DNA match for a little child. By donating my stem cells, I could save his life!”

A patient in need of a transplant cannot wait. The wheels began turning immediately. First came the paperwork and the medical preparation. Then a date was set for the actual transplant. What date was it? We’ll let Yaakov tell you.

“When I checked the date on my own calendar, I could hardly believe it. September 24th. It was the date my own son was born. His birthday. G-d gave me a son and I merited to repay Him by giving life to the son of another Jew. Now that’s what I call a birthday present! (Don’t worry. My son received the traditional birthday gift also.)

“Avishai is five now.  And what a mischievous five-year-old! Each year, our two families celebrate the same birthday – the day my son was born and the day Avishai was ‘reborn’. ”

Requests are received from oncology clinics around the globe. Because of you, our generous contributors worldwide who have helped to fund the genetic testing for close to a million potential donors, Ezer Mizion has, to date, saved 3100 lives, 342 in 2018 alone.  Countless more are waiting for the match that will save their lives. We look forward to the time when virtually all requests will be met with the joyous words: Yes! We have a match!

 

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