Ezer Mizion’s annual Golf and Tennis Tournament was held at the pristine Lawrence Yacht & Country Club. Sunshine pervaded the green as the players teed off, elevated by the knowledge that each stroke was a strike against cancer.
The event entitled Swing for Life serves to benefit Ezer Mizion’s International Bone Marrow Registry. For many cancer patients, a bone marrow transplant is their only chance to survive. Genetic matching between donor and patient is essential for success and, since genetics is based on ethnicity, Jewish donors are needed for Jewish patients. Ezer Mizion is the largest Jewish registry in the world and has saved over 2100 lives. However, too many requests are not yet met and it is vital that the registry be enlarged. All proceeds of the event will fund the expensive genetic testing of many more potential donors, thus greatly increasing the chances of each request being met with a positive response.
Simmie Chiger, David Lyons and Manny Malekan, Committee Chairs, were thrilled to have the event completely sold out. They were ably assisted the hard-working committee: Stuart Alter, Aaron Cynamon, Seth Fried, Jason Greenberg, Jonathan Halpert , Aroni Parnes, Chani Parnes, Michael Pfeifer, David Ritholtz, Ephraim Kutner, Y. David Scharf, Mark Schlossberg and Marc Soskel. Each member felt the pride of being part of ‘something big’. The Ezer Mizion ‘Hole in One’ Donor Pool, funded by golf events held both in the US and Israel, has already saved ten lives.
The guests were treated to a delectable dinner during which the purpose of the event was further brought home. The attendees met Josh, a young father of two, who thanked Ezer Mizion for enabling his children to grow up with a father. Josh described his excitement at being invited to the dinner and being given a chance to express his gratitude publicly. He had asked his boss for a few days off to travel to New York. His boss, however, refused. Undaunted, Josh simply switched jobs. He was not going to give up his chance to say thank you. In a moving speech, he described his feelings when he received his diagnosis. His doctor asked him to meet him at the ER but, not realizing what that meant, Josh suggested that he go after work. His doctor then asked him for his work address saying, “I’m coming now to pick you up.” That’s when he realized the severity of his condition. A transplant was his only chance, he was told.
For Josh, there was light at the end of his tunnel. Ran, one of the over 810,000 Ezer Mizion registrants, was a perfect genetic match. As Josh was about to leave the stage, he was asked if he would like to meet his donor for the first time. Ran was then brought to the stage where the two embraced as only two brothers can. It was Ran’s blood that now flowed through Josh’s arteries. The two men will forever be intertwined.
Each attendee left the club that evening , knowing that there were many, many ‘Josh’s’ out there- some of them even small children- and he had helped to save Jewish lives.