You’ll Always Be My Hero

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It’s all about saving lives!

“Don’t be silly,” said his wife.” Just because your friend has leukemia, doesn’t mean you do.”

“You’re being absurd,” said his neighbor. “Soon you’ll think that every sneeze is leukemia.”

Alex had been feeling very weak and just made an appointment to see his doctor.

“What you need is a good vacation, not an exhausting two-hour wait in a doctor’s office,” said his daughter.

Alex hoped they were right.  He was only 53. But he had a feeling…Sometimes you just know…

And so the appointment was kept. Blood tests were done. The doctor’s face took on a very serious mien. They were all wrong. And Alex was…right. Leukemia.

 

The family was suddenly thrust into a world that was not their own. A world of chemo… and hospitals…and people dying. Alex had a family. Two children. He was still young. He had plans.  Plans for the future.  But the chemo was not working.

 

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Will a genetic match be found?

“Your best chance is a bone marrow transplant,” his doctor said at a family meeting. Everyone should be tested. Lets pray that we find a genetic match.

The family rallied and each one adjusted his schedule and came to be tested, secretly hoping that he’d be the one to save Alex. But one after the other the answer was negative. No. No. No.  And then there was no one left. That’s when Despair took up permanent residence in their home.

 

“There’s still hope,” the doctor tried to speak encouragingly. “You’re Jewish. Lets try Ezer Mizion. It’s the largest Jewish registry in the world with close to a million possibilities. Hopefully one of those registrants will be a good match.”

 

The family was despondent.  Relatives no and a stranger yes? They didn’t have much hope.

 

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Stem cell transplant being prepared to save Alex’s life

They didn’t know about Shlomo. He was a newly married American young man of 25 learning in the Mirrer Yeshiva. There had been a drive to save the life of a young child and one of the stations was right outside the yeshiva. Many of the young men registered. Their info remains on the database for decades. And so the computer buzzed and chirped and finally settled on a line beginning with “First Name: Shlomo”. It was a 10 out of 10 match. Very unusual.  Perfect.

 

Nine years later. Alex is 62, living in Holon, a machine programmer for the IDF and doing fine. He and Shlomo met for the first time in Shlomo’s home. It was a major event with the wives of Alex and Shlomo and Shlomo’s parents joining together for a heartfelt get-together filled with gratitude to G-d who had brought them together .

 

 

“So you’re the hero I’ve been dreaming of meeting!” Alex beamed as he hugged the man he had waited nine years to meet. “Hero?” Shlomo brushed off the accolade. “It was my pleasure, and it wasn’t painful at all — at most, a bit of discomfort during the preliminary injections.”

It was heartwarming to see the two men, from such different worlds — one, a Russian-born 62 year-old, and the other, a Chareidi Kollel scholar and now a  father of six — joined in a unique bond of brotherhood and mutual affection. “Thank you! You’ll always be my hero!” Alex insisted.

Ezer Mizion has saved over 3000 lives, 307 in 2017alone. It is you, our generous contributors around the globe who have sponsored the genetic testing, that have made it possible.  Alex, Shlomo and you. All of us joining together across the ocean in a virtual loving embrace…a Triangle of Life.

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