Recap: Avrumy, 18, is in need of a bone marrow transplant to save his life. Roi was fond to be a genetic match
Roi: “I came in for tests in Tel Hashomer. They did a blood test, and then, for a few days, I received injections to increase the production of stem cells in my bone marrow. Baruch Hashem, I didn’t have any side effects at all, and a week later, I arrived at the moment of the donation. My family escorted me on the big day, surrounding me on all sides as if I were a hero and was at my side throughout the process. The medical staff received me warmly and with a lot of admiration. I received a private cubicle and the donation process began. It’s a procedure that takes about four hours. To anyone who is familiar with donation of platelets, you can say that it’s a similar process. And to anyone who isn’t, you can simply say that it’s like a long blood donation, that takes a few hours. It’s something amazing — they take blood from one arm, the machine filters out the cells that the patient needs, and then the blood flows back into the body through the other arm. And so, the donor doesn’t lose even a drop of blood and the patient receives only the substance that he needs from my blood — a lifesaving unit of bone marrow. Within a short time, the bone marrow in the donor’s body regenerates itself. It’s really a miracle, because you can give the next person what he’s missing, without taking anything away from yourself.”
Genetic matching is vital for success of a transplant.
Immediately after the donation, the test tube of bone marrow was transferred to England by a quick flight and there, Ro’i’s bone marrow was transplanted into Avrumy’s body.
“Of course, I wanted to know right away who the recipient was and, most importantly — how he was doing. I wanted to know that the transplant had been a success and that he was alive and recovering. But the rules of ethics require proceeding with responsibility and level-headedness. Only after a year has elapsed can the initial contact between donor and recipient be made, because they want to make sure that the transplant succeeded and that the patient recuperated. For a full year, I was in suspense, davening for the recovery and success of the recipient, whom I didn’t even know.
At the end of a year, I got a message from Ezer Mizion that I could make contact with the recipient, at the first stage, by sending him a personal letter. In today’s discussion, Avrumy says that he knew how much the donor wanted to know him and meet him, but his medical condition did not allow it. “It took me a very long time to recover from the transplant, and even a year later, I was in not-so-good condition. I didn’t want him to see me that way and feel that maybe his donation was in vain… I preferred to recover a little more before we would get to know each other.
Ro’i wrote the first letter. He told his story and wrote at length how happy he was to hear that the transplant was a success. He gave his warm wishes that Avrumy should regain his health and start his life again, hale and healthy.
“I signed off the letter with my dream – to meet him one day. Since my donation, I was exposed to emotional meetings of donor and recipient, and I dreamt that I, too, would see him alive, on his feet, after receiving my donation.” to be continued