H. was a cheerful, healthy 62 year old. Life was great and he expected things to continue that way. If yesterday was good, shouldn’t tomorrow be so also? We human beings are wired that way. We take good things for granted and are shocked when the wheel turns. That’s what happened to H. His idyllic life was over when…
Although friends had been telling him for a while that he looked pale, H. didn’t take it seriously until he heard the same thing again and again and again. ”Finally, I listened. I was tested at the hospital and discovered that my hemoglobin was half the normal rate, much lower than it should have been. More tests. More waiting. More worry. And then the answer. Severe leukemia.”
When asked how he dealt with this difficult news, H. said, “I didn’t ask questions like why did this happen to me and why now. It happened and it has be dealt with.”
H. was treated at Rambam Hospital in Haifa. The first round of chemo killed 70% of the cancerous cells and by the end of round three there were only 3% left. At this point, H. was told that the next step was a bone marrow transplant. The staff at Rambam looked for a donor with H.’s blood type and 10 other matching criteria.
Ezer Mizion, with its close to a million possible donors on its database, was consulted while H. held his breath. Ezer Mizion is the largest Jewish registry in the world but is it large enough? Will it have a match for H.? Too many requests have a negative response but, in H.’s case, the answer was a joyful YES! Sergeant Major O.Y.was an excellent match.
“I am constantly amazed at the Ezer Mizion donors, says Bracha Zisser, Director of Ezer Mizion’s Cancer Support Division. “Over 94% make the decision to donate when asked. This is unheard of among worldwide registries. Nothing will stand in the way of our registrants. We don’t hear anything like “I am in the middle of a big business deal. I can’t take off.” “I have exams. I’m too busy.” People just drop everything and put their schedule at our disposal so that they can save the life of a person they have never met. And then they thank us (!) for the opportunity.”
O.Y.was such a person, a man of principles. Sergeant Major O.Y.was in the midst of drill exercises with his soldiers when he got the phone call. He knew that if he left his soldiers now the drills would be total chaos, but he didn’t hesitate. Instead, he let his commanding officer know that he needed a leave of absence in order to bestow the gift of life on H..
H. has since made it one of his life’s missions to encourage bone marrow donation. He reminds people that “It’s not like donating a kidney ; it’s a much simpler process and in a short time, your body replaces what had been donated. And it will make all the difference to the one waiting for it. ”
To learn more with Dr. Brian Koffman: https://cllsociety.org/
O.Y.and H. recently got together for an emotional meeting. O.Y.was overwhelmed by the profusion of gratitude showered upon him by H. and his extended family. H. is now healthy and his cheerful self is back in full swing. All because another Jew understood that nothing should stand between him and saving a life.
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