What is a good day? Many people would say that a good day is when everything you planned works. No hitches. No slip-ups. And what does one do when there are hitches? Get frustrated, of course. Rant and rave. Find someone to blame. Typical, right? Very human.
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
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.
Four years ago she had registered with Ezer Mizion’s Bone Marrow Registry, never expecting to actually be contacted. The call came as a complete surprise. It was the registry informing her that she was a possible genetic match for a young child. She could save his life! She was glad she was home to receive the call. Normally, she would be at work and wouldn’t have received the message until evening, perhaps even a couple of days later when she would get around to checking her messages. But today she was home and she told the caller to send someone right over.
Further testing had to be done and, for that, blood would have to be drawn. “Let’s get started right away,” she said. “I don’t want that child and his parents to suffer a minute more than they have to.” The Registry staff was grateful that she didn’t ask to procrastinate and made arrangements for the blood to be drawn that very day so that testing can begin.
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? Continue reading Now That’s A Birthday Gift!
At his bris (circumcision), they named him Imri. He was blessed that his parents merit bringing him to the chupah (wedding canopy), a simple, often –taken-for-granted blessing. At the time, it seemed simple. Now they are not so sure. In fact, they are not certain that his mother will enjoy the deep satisfaction of bringing her little boy even to first grade. You see, two-year-old Imri was diagnosed at two months with DBA, a rare disease which does not allow him to manufacture blood cells. He has no clotting system or immune system. When his mother brought him to the ER, the nurse immediately snatched him away and rushed him to the trauma unit. His hemoglobin was 2.5, the level of someone who has passed away. In addition, he has recently developed MDS, a rare blood disease for children which often develops into leukemia. The unfathomable has become all too real for this family. Imri Chai may not live past toddlerhood.Continue reading Let’s Keep on Trying
She was sitting in front of the computer at the Ezer Mizion office. Very busy as usual. All around her were co-workers engaged in varied aspects of raising funds to facilitate bone marrow transplants. At times she even heard snatches of a co-worker’s conversation with a donor who had merited to save the life of a young mother or perhaps that of a tiny toddler. Saving lives was the order of the day. Behind the standard office banter was the seriousness of what we accomplish. She felt good. She knew that her work was important, one cog in the wheel of making sure that a cancer patient in need of a transplant received his chance to live. It was gratifying work. She couldn’t ask for more satisfaction in a job.
Until one day when an enormous bundle of satisfaction landed right in her lap. She had been too busy to pick up a call on her cell and so the caller left a message on her voice mail. Hours later she checked it. “What’s this??? It must be a mistake.” But it wasn’t a mistake. She was being called by the Ezer Mizion office in Israel, not on the office phone but on her cell phone, not for the usual request of a report on something-or-other or the phone number of somebody-or-other but for her personally. Why? Because she, a girl who processes data, line after line, so that a life-saving transplant can take place, she herself may be able to save a life. She was found to be a possible match for a 65 year old woman with AML.
The office erupted in excitement. One of us is a match! Further testing had to be done. It meant a blood draw. Our phlebotomist was called in and he also joined in the office elation. Each tube was carefully wrapped and shipped to Israel where the final testing would be done. Now we waited. Each day began with, “Have you heard anything? Any update?” And one day there was. Positive. She was a perfect genetic match. Like the people whose statistics are listed on the brochures she sends out. Like the people she has seen on the organization’s videos. She, she herself, would be traveling to Israel. She would be spending hours at Ezer Mizion’s new Harvesting Center with staff members seeing to her every need so that she can be perfectly comfortable. She would be the heroine of the day. She would save a life.
Needles? Tubes? Oh, no! Not me! Yedidya has been frightened of anything sharper than a safety pin since childhood. But then he met Meir and began to realize that childish fears were just that – childish. They were overshadowed by more important things. Things like saving someone’s life.
Yedidya and Meir had met when they were children. His family spent three years in New York and their friendship flourished. So much so that, when Yedidya moved back to Israel, they remained in contact until they reached young adulthood. It was then that Yedidya received the news. Meir had leukemia and it didn’t look good. Within months, it was all over. Yedidya was devastated. Can such a thing be? Such a young person no longer alive?? Continue reading In Memory of Meir
Ezer Mizion, the largest Jewish registry in the world, has recently celebrated a major milestone. Because of you, our good friends and supporters, we have passed the THREE-THOUSAND mark of transplants. That’s three thousand patients whose lives were saved! Three thousand families who remained whole! Three thousand grandmas and grandpas, Mommies and Daddies and so many tiny, frightened children traveled in one fateful moment from agony to joy, fueled by the electrifying words: We have a genetic match!Continue reading Because of You!!!