At 61, Betzalel N. was just beginning grandfatherhood. He had three children and several tiny grandchildren. His drawer was filled with lollipops and his mind was filled with future plans: trips to the zoo with Grandpa, graduations, dancing at their weddings…until the day it all came crashing down. Leukemia. There would be no holding the hand of a grandchild as she gingerly feeds a baby goat at the zoo. Weddings would take place but there would be no glowing Zeidy (grandfather) to dance with the chassan (groom). It was over. He’d be gone. The doctors had tried everything and there was only one procedure left. A bone marrow transplant. If a genetically matching donor could be found somewhere in the world, he’d have a chance. If not, … Continue reading Two Grandpas: Their Sole Chance of Survival Was a Bone Marrow Transplant
“But he’s at the other end of the world!”
“No problem,” said the experienced Ezer Mizion staff member. “Just watch.” Continue reading The Other End of the World? No Problem When It Comes to Saving Lives!
Numbers are funny things. They look nice and neat, march in straight rows. They create groups (3 of these and 5 of those) and somehow make us feel that everything is under control. Until one personally finds herself in one of those groups – the wrong one. The one that people don’t like to mention. You know, the C word. Cancer.
That was me. The C monster opened its mouth and grabbed me right before my trip to South America. I had been planning it for months but it wasn’t going to be. I gave myself a compensation prize of some amazing tours in different countries but in between, I toured hospitals.
It was on the big trip to New Zealand, exactly a year ago. Right in the middle of a fantastic trek, when, dressed in a sunhat and attempting to conquer some mountain, I fell apart. I could barely do the last part of the trail, because my body started to weaken. They started doing all kinds of tests. Continue reading Cancer on Its Way Out! Happy Two-Year Birthday to Me! by Shir Tahar
In recent years, a bone marrow transplant has been proven to be the cure for a myriad of diseases. Many forms of cancer including leukemia and lymphoma in addition to other diseases such as sickle cell anemia and SCID are only some of the life-threatening illnesses that have bowed to its power. Like penicillin, a bone marrow transplant can save lives. But unlike penicillin, it cannot simply be purchased at the local pharmacy.
In her early sixties, Chava was a young grandmother to seven grandchildren. She was looking forward to many milestones in the future until she discovered that her future was very uncertain indeed. Twelve years ago, she had been diagnosed with lymphoma. A self-transplant of stem cells resulted in a cure and the nightmare seemed to be over until several years later the disease returned. Would there be a cure this time? Only if a transplant can be performed using the stem cells of a genetically matching donor. The procedure was not difficult but finding this mysterious donor whose DNA corresponded to hers seemed to be nothing short of miraculous. He could be any place where Jews of her ethnic group have settled…South America, Canada, US, Australia, Europe. Anywhere. The first step was to contact Ezer Mizion, the largest Jewish registry in the world with its database of over 800,000 potential donors. And, lo and behold, there he was, right there in Israel. Continue reading Watching the Grandchildren Grow Up…Together: A DNA Success Story
Avigayil has successfully trained many in public speaking as head of TED, a worldwide organization whose website attracts viewers that number into the millions. She is passionate about her profession and believes anyone can speak publicly if he is excited about his topic. One would assume that if Avigayil were to take the podium herself, Public Speaking would be her focus. But she says otherwise. “There is something I am even more enthusiastic about. In fact, if it were not for that subject, I would not be here today. What is it? It’s leukemia.
For more than twenty years, Lieutenant Colonel Yossie Cohen has been involved in extensive military operational activity as, until recently, head of the General Staff’s Operations Brigade for the Southern Front. He was engaged in many a battle for his country and it was he who coined the names of operations “Protective Edge” and “Pillar of Defense.” Involved in life and death decisions, the few moments he had spent as a young man ten years before at the Ezer Mizion Registration Station, filling out a one-page form was certainly not in the forefront of his mind. Continue reading A Shining Example
Another Ezer Mizion International Jewish Bone Marrow Registry success story! Jacob is now on his way to becoming a doctor and helping others. Just a few short years ago, his future was not certain at all. Read on as he tells his story.
A perfect stranger saved my life. He didn’t jump in front of a moving vehicle or fend off an attacker. He wasn’t perfect for the reasons one might think, but for my predicament, he was indeed perfect—a 10 out of 10 match, to be exact. I required such a match to survive.
As a senior in high school, my classmates had voted me “most likely to cure cancer.” Ironically, a year later, I found myself lying in a hospital bed, after being diagnosed with leukemia. The conundrum was that I felt fine and was anxious to begin my summer of organic chemistry as part of a combined undergraduate and medical school program. At 19 years old, I was completely unprepared to be diagnosed with cancer, admitted to the hospital, and informed I would need an urgent bone marrow transplant and chemotherapy, all in the same day. I had planned out my life for as long as I could remember, and suddenly nothing was under my control. Continue reading A Perfect Stranger
It was a long, exhausting day. A little prick in the finger hardly registered with Yehudah as he went through all the red tape of his army induction. The prick had long healed when a call came in during his commander course. “I was needed to save a life. It wasn’t the kind of call you receive every day. I consulted with my Rav who advised me to do whatever is necessary. The life of another Jew was at stake. I was the only one in the entire world who was a genetic match to this person. My bone marrow would save him. It was all up to me.
But it still wasn’t real.
A year later, I received another call saying that the recipient wanted to meet me. That’s when it became real. There was a person on the other end. Suddenly, these moments at the clinic last year took on a face and a name and a family and dreams.
The recipient was Itai Chanan from Herzliya who discovered that he had blood cancer. “One day I came home with a sort of wound near my forehead, and on Shabbat morning, I woke up with a red, swollen face. Abba rushed me to the hospital. It was there that I heard that word: leukemia. Continue reading His Father’s Hug
In the summer of 5771, a sample was taken from E. to be included in Ezer Mizion’s International Bone Marrow Donor Registry. He didn’t give the matter any thought. All he could think of was the blessed opportunity to spend a few minutes in the air-conditioning on this unusually hot day.
Two years later, he was summoned urgently to the Registry, who informed him that he was found to be a good match for a bone marrow donation to a particular patient. Then too, he did not think much about it. Then too, it was August, and then too, the main thing that flitted through his mind was how he could stretch out the time in the air conditioning for a few more hours. After all, he was only nineteen. Life and its opposite was not on his radar screen. When the time came for the actual donation, he already began to understand. He would be saving a life. Continue reading One Grows Up and the Other… by Kobi Arieli