Flying 35,000 feet above the Atlantic Ocean is not an easy job! Ofer had already spent 17 years as a fighter pilot in the IDF. In 2003 he left the reserves and joined El-Al full time. “Most people don’t realize that being a pilot is a very dangerous profession. When you know it is dangerous, you are safe but when you think it is easy, when you’re a cowboy, you are unsafe! A pilot’s job is to always be alert in case something happens.” Ofer always remained alert with hundreds of travelers under his wing, quite literally!
But after 16 years of flying for El-Al, Ofer started to feel fatigued. “It became difficult for me to walk up the steps to the plane from the tarmac. I thought I was starting to get old or out of shape.” But the truth was far more devastating: after routine blood tests, Ofer was diagnosed with leukemia!
“I was immediately rushed to the hospital. When I arrived they couldn’t even find bone marrow inside my body for a biopsy. I had very little bone marrow left in my body.”
Ofer started to think about his future. He thought, “Will I ever be able to fly again? Will I be able to see my children again? Will I get to meet my grandchildren?”
“It was a very difficult time in my life..” When Ofer was told that Ezer Mizion had a perfect genetic match for him, he was thrilled.
Pushing through all the negative thoughts, Ofer decided to fight. He was absolutely determined to overcome this illness and would go to any lengths to get better.
David was in the middle of his military service on Mt. Hermon when he received a call from Ezer Mizion that he is a perfect match for a cancer patient. David wasn’t supposed to have his phone on him while he was in the middle of active duty. Yet, as he explains, “Hashgacha (divine intervention) thought otherwise.” While he did not know Ofer personally, he jumped at the opportunity to save the pilot’s life.
Thanks to David’s transplant, Ofer is alive today. While the recovery process is slow and there has been some turbulence along the way, Ofer has his life back. One of Ofer’s dreams had always been to fly a Boeing Dreamliner. Unfortunately, due to his medical history, this dream will never come to fruition in his capacity as a pilot but he still loves to travel the world, even if he’s sitting in the back of the plane.
David was able to jump on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to save a life. Ofer was able to be the recipient of a special and unique kindness. How? Because all of you out there have contributed so generously enabling Ezer Mizion to grow to almost 1 million registrants! As Ofer explained so poignantly, “David: without you… I wouldn’t be here.”