From A Busy Day at the Computer To…

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A DNA match: the puzzle piece that will mean life itself!

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.

 

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In Memory of Meir

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A genetic match will 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.

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Yedidya makes a difficult choice

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

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As Life from Me Is Infused into You

 

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Stem cell transplant: I was the perfect match!

To My Dear One

You don’t know me and I don’t know you, but that is what makes everything so much more amazing.

Some time ago, I received the most thrilling phone call, informing me that I was found to be a match for a stem cell donation to someone who needed my cells to live. I was beyond words, in the clouds.

Two years ago, I had received a similar call to save the life of a 23 year old man. But unfortunately, the patient weakened and he was in no condition to undergo the transplant. I had been devastated.  “This cannot be!” I thought to myself.

To my great joy, I received another call and this time it was about you.  Today, I had the opportunity to donate my stem cells to you. For this privilege, I am forever grateful!!!

Throughout this process, I didn’t stop thinking about you for a moment.

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Stem cell transplant: his only chance to survive

I thought all the time: How are you feeling? Are you happy that a matching donor was found for you? Are you optimistic, in spite of the great difficulty involved in such a daunting challenge?

When, occasionally, there was pain or fears at some stage of the process, I immediately thought of you and instantly knew that I had no right to complain, when it was you who are fighting for your life. It had been insanely important to me, and I stubbornly had insisted that they pass on to you and your family that you should not be worried about the donation; I was willing to donate, no matter what would be involved.

To everyone involved, I want to send you tons of “likes” for the ability to accept and deal with this, each in his own way, and to embrace me with a big hug from afar.

I intentionally chose to write to you by hand, so that you could become familiar with at least one personal aspect of me in this long and discreet process.

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Stem cell transplant: saving life after life

I pray and hope that my stem cells will be absorbed in your body in the best possible way and that, with G-d’s help, you should recover and regain your strength so that you will once more stand on your own two feet, raise your head, and, above all, be proud of yourself for emerging victorious, in a big way.

Yours forever,

Your anonymous donor

The letter writer is just one of over three thousand caring Jews who cannot believe their good fortune to have been chosen to save a life. In a year or two, donor and patient will be permitted to meet. Can you imagine the joy as they embrace…brothers in blood, their souls entwined! 

There are close to a million potential donors in Ezer Mizion’s International Bone Marrow Registry, the largest Jewish registry in the world. But even the largest is not large enough. Our goal is to expand so that virtually every request is met with the exhilarating words: Yes! We have a match! 

 

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The Giving Circle

Moriel Matalon
Moriel Matalon

Moriel Matalon is Managing Partner at Israel’s well known Gornitzky Law Office. In addition, he is chairman of Unicef- Israel, the local branch of the UN’s International Children’s Emergency Fund. He had climbed high on the ladder of success but his position did not intimidate the fiend named Cancer who arrived uninvited as a nightmare set to destroy Moriel’s life and that of his family. They were devastated. The doctors held out only one ray of hope: a bone marrow transplant. Would a genetically matching donor be found? In time? Before…? Mr. Matalon was among the fortunate ones. Avi Cohen, one among over 850,000 potential Ezer Mizion donors, was that match. It’s a year and a half later and a healthy Moriel met Avi for the first time. “It was exhilarating to find myself in the same room with a man whose life I personally had saved,” exclaimed Avi. Moriel hugged his benefactor in a wordless expression of gratitude for the gift that can never be paid back. As grateful as he and his family were, there remained the ‘missing piece’: the feeling of no possible way of repaying the unrepayable.

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Stem cells being removed from blood of donor to be transplanted into patient

All that changed recently when Moriel re-entered the hospital doors, a place of so many memories. Continue reading The Giving Circle

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Ezer Mizion Bone Marrow Registry: Many of You Have Asked…

Does Ezer Mizion provide transplants to Israel residents only?

 

Ezer Mizion receives Search Requests from oncology clinics around the globe. DNA matching is based on ethnics. As the largest Jewish Registry in the world, Ezer Mizion is the natural address for an oncology clinic working with a Jewish patient in Europe, Russia, South Africa, South America, Australia, Canada and the US.

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Ezer Mizion saves lives around the globe.

 

In April 2017, 14 of 31 transplants were done for Israeli residents and 17 for countries around the world including 6 in US and Canada.

 

Did the partnership with the IDF create any significant change in the success of finding DNA matches?

 

Due to IDF recruits being young and healthy, they remain on the database for decades, thus greatly increasing the chances of eventually being found to be a match for a patient. In addition, they come from highly varied backgrounds resulting in much increased representation among minority ethnic groups.

 

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IDF recruit being congratulated on his saving a life

In April 2017, 18 of the 21 transplants funded by donor pools are IDF recruits, some having been inducted and joined the registry just a few months ago.

 

How long, on the average, does it take for a new Bone Marrow Donor Pool to receive the at long awaited letter: You have saved a life!

 

There can, of course, be no guarantees. In April of 2017, 4 of the 21 transplants funded by donor pools were opened within the last half year.

Like to Partner with Ezer Mizion to Save Lives?

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Watching the Grandchildren Grow Up…Together: A DNA Success Story

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How does one say ‘Thank You’ for saving a life?!

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

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A Bone Marrow Transplant for The Bubble Baby

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A bone marrow transplant gave me a future!

The bone marrow transplant was over. There she sat blowing bubbles for her pre-schooler. Together with several neighborhood children, he ran after them on his chubby legs reaching out to touch the effervescent, multi-hued balls of magic, then watching, mesmerized, as they mysteriously made their way, flying up, up, up to never-neverland.

Young children are fascinated by bubbles. Yet certainly no child would want to live in one. As her tiny son ran on the grass with his little friends, she offered up a fervent prayer of gratitude.   Up until recently, her son was called the Bubble Baby.  He was forced to live in a virtual ‘bubble’, a completely sterile environment, to save his young life.  Continue reading A Bone Marrow Transplant for The Bubble Baby

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