Two young men joined the IDF. Two young men rose through the ranks. For one, the road was smooth. The other encountered a bump. A big bump. He was diagnosed with leukemia. Itai Chanan’s condition worsened and he was told that only a bone marrow transplant would save his life. Leukemia had not been part of his plans and now he may never make any plans again. A young man, just at the threshold of adulthood, may die if a genetic match is not found in time. The second young man smoothed Itai’s ‘bump in the road’. Like thousands of others, Yehuda Yefet had registered with Ezer Mizion’s International Jewish Bone Marrow Registry at the time of his induction. The induction was long. He had been tempted to call it a day when he saw the Ezer Mizion registration booth. But he didn’t. He took the few minutes to register, thinking, “I hear there are 600,000 registrants. I’ll probably never be called but I might as well do it while I’m here.” And so Yehuda’s genetic information made it to Ezer Mizion’s database. No one could have been more surprised than Yehuda when he received a telephone call to donate his marrow. “Legally, we’re not allowed to be told the name of the person receiving the marrow for twelve months so all year I prayed for his welfare without knowing who he was.” Yehudah and Itai were shocked when they finally met, two fellow soldiers. “Anything I will ever do in my lifetime is all his. It is only thanks to him that I’m here today,” says Itai emotionally. The IDF being the size that it is, the two had not known each other before but now they and their families have blended into one unit. Two soldiers. Two roads. Merged into one.
Yehuda’s genetic testing was sponsored by Irving and Cherna Moskowitz whose caring and generosity enabled this transplant to happen.