To my very dearest donor,

Some people my age are still kids but I was forced to grow up fast. It hasn’t been an easy life. Until fourteen, I was like everyone else. You know. Playing ball, studying for tests, doing pretty well in school except for math. I had a lot of friends and life was great. Until it wasn’t. Until I found myself alone in the hospital. My friends weren’t allowed to visit and even if they had been, they were probably too scared. I know I would have been if it had been someone else lying there attached to tubes and sick with a disease that people didn’t even like to mention.  I got chemo treatment. I couldn’t even dream of a ballgame. Every time I pictured the ball flying through the air, I got more nauseous and had to grab that basin fast. But the chemo did the trick, at least for a while. And the cancer seemed to disappear. Then at nineteen, the monster was back again. This time there were no triumphant handshakes from the medical staff. No banter like “We never want to see you here again.” This time, they weren’t sure. I got a bone marrow transplant, the kind where they use your own cells. It was grueling and the ‘maybe it will work, maybe it won’t’ I was hearing was no comfort.

But then came the best day of my life. They had told me that Ezer Mizion is the largest Jewish bone marrow registry and would do their best to find me a genetically matching donor but I didn’t believe it.  How could Ezer Mizion find a match from a stranger??? Well they did! They really did!  It happened in the summer. I’ll never forget that date. I call it my second birthday. It was the day I was reborn. A new, healthy me. It was the day you donated your stem cells to me. I hope with all my heart that it will not be in vain. First of all, I hope the procedure was not too restrictive and painful for you. I still can’t believe it. I can’t believe what you did. You, a young man, only 20 years old. The same age as me. You were brave enough to make such a gift to another person whom you don’t even know. That’s incredible. Why would you even think of such a thing?! Most young people are too self-involved. I cannot find the words to express my gratitude to you. On behalf of myself and all my family, thank you! We wish you and all your loved ones only the best throughout your lives.

And none of this could have happened if it weren’t for all those people who contributed so generously so people like you could get tested. So thank you to everyone out there. You not only made my day. You made my life.

With much gratitude and admiration,

The recipient of your stem cells