Needles? Tubes? Oh, no! Not me! Yedidya has been frightened of anything sharper than a safety pin since childhood. But then he met Meir and began to realize that childish fears were just that – childish. They were overshadowed by more important things. Things like saving someone’s life.
Yedidya and Meir had met when they were children. His family spent three years in New York and their friendship flourished. So much so that, when Yedidya moved back to Israel, they remained in contact until they reached young adulthood. It was then that Yedidya received the news. Meir had leukemia and it didn’t look good. Within months, it was all over. Yedidya was devastated. Can such a thing be? Such a young person no longer alive??
When Yedidya joined the IDF, he was offered the option of registering, at the same time, with the Ezer Mizion Bone Marrow Registry. His friends were all lining up. They seemed to have no problem but for Yedidya, it was a problem. Blood… needles…things he’d shied away from since childhood. But the more mature part of him was determined. In the merit of Meir OB’M. He turned. He hesitated. Then resolutely he joined the line. He’d do it. No matter what it involved. The initial test did not involve needles. It was done via a cheek swab but he knew that down the line, if he were found to be a match, it would be more complex.
In less than a year, he was found to be a genetic match for a woman suffering from leukemia and was asked to be a bone marrow donor.
Despite Yedidya’s long-standing phobia of being hooked up to tubes, he didn’t hesitate for a second. The chance to save a life was not to be passed up. Yedidya describes the process: “My mother accompanied me to the stem cell donation. It wasn’t painful, but it was tiring. There’s no reason to be nervous of a bone marrow donation; it’s a fairly simple process and I was soon able to return to my normal routine.”
Yedidya hopes that he will get to meet the woman whose life he saved. Legally, they are not allowed to meet until at least a year. If all goes well, the patient can request a meeting, usually a highly emotional encounter as patient, spouse, parents, children see what they had, up until now, known only as a small bag of stem cells. Now, standing before them would be a person who put his work and family life on hold, traveled long distances, underwent discomforts – all for a stranger he had never met. Although Yedidya understands that she may not feel emotionally ready for a meeting, he has high hopes that someday he will be able to see the impact he has had on ‘his’ patient and on her family… in memory of Meir.