I Love Her with All My Heart

A stem cell transplant saved my life! L-R Debra and Zohar

I hadn’t been feeling well and decided that a visit to my doctor was the right thing to do. Picking up the blood results was just one of the things on my long list of Things To Do that day. It would be a long, long time till I could get back to that list.

There I sat in the chair opposite him as he perused the first page of the blood work. “Hmmm. Looks ok….” Then he turned the page. His face changed color. His muscles tensed. “I can’t understand how you are sitting here in front of me! You belong in a hospital!” he fairly shouted. An ambulance was called. My list was forgotten and I found myself on a hospital bed receiving an emergency blood transfusion.

And that was just the beginning. Next in line, in our battle against the monster named Cancer, was chemotherapy. My body had been weakened and there were some very scary moments there. My husband was terrified, my mother devastated. “For them! For them I have to get better! I just have to!” I cried inside myself.

The words of a highly insensitive nurse were not encouraging, to say the least: “I hope you have all your business affairs in order.”

“Why is she saying that to me?” I screamed in silence. “I’m not going anywhere!” 

Soon we were down to playing our last card. I was told that a stem cell transplant was my last chance to survive. Unlike medication, a transplant cannot be procured at the pharmacy. It must come from a genetically matching donor. And at that time, there was none…

But there was hope. The registries were searching. Perhaps soon one will be found. Before it’s too late. 

And then came the day that will live forever in my heart. The phone rang. I could hear the bubbling joy in the voice of the caller. A tiny flutter of hope began to well up within me. “I’m calling from Ezer Mizion Bone Marrow Registry. We found a match!”

Tears of joy streamed down my face. A match! Life! Who is this angel who is willing to do this for a stranger she has never met?!

Due to legalities, I had to wait at least a year to meet Zohar. The angel who gave me another chance at life. I lived in Florida and she lived in Israel and so we got to know each other via email. When she finished her stint in the Israeli army, she took a job as a guide in a zoo introducing children and adults to the wonders of the animal world. It was In Israel that she received the call from Ezer Mizion notifying her that she was the only one in the world that could save a life. My life. 

“Wow! This was the most exciting news I ever received. My cousin had gone through a bout with cancer. This was my chance to pay it back and save another person,” Zohar relives the moment of that exhilarating call.  

Then began the next phase of her life: moving to New Jersey and, shortly afterwards, marriage. New Jersey is closer than Israel to Florida but not close enough to actually meet. It wasn’t until a major Ezer Mizion event, the Fireworks concert of 2022, that the two met onstage in front of thousands of people. There were tears. There were hugs. And the walls of the theater trembled with emotion. “I love her with all my heart,” cries Debra.

Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Because of You!

Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Because of You!

Because of your generosity, many lives were saved this past month – more than one a day!

Donor Pool NameApril 2022 TransplantsTotal Transplants
S. Adelsberg & Co.16
Eitan & Jessica Barak Family12
Boeing CompanyBoeing Company130
René & Susanne Braginsky19
Brazil Community2241
Caesarea Community12
Alan Cohen197
Damaghi Family1130
David & Sara Farajun2164
David & Judy Hager136
Hole In One1111

Jewish Bone Marrow Testing Fund
271
Ephraim & Sara Kriel14
Leora Kuhillow117
LA Young Professionals11
Los Angeles Community38
Yechiel & Odelia Radozki13
Ira & Ingeborg Rennert1195
Dudu & Chagit Saada12
Mark & Barbara Silber18
Stu’s19
Moshe & Lillian Tabacinic16
Teaneck, Bergenfield, New Milford Community22
Patricia Weinstock14
Marjorie & Arnold Ziff16
Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Because of You!

66 Life-saving Transplants in January and February of 2022.

We couldn’t have done it without you!

don

Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Because of You!

December Bone Marrow Registry Report

2021 Bone Marrow Registry S
ummary

Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Because of You!

Your monthly stem cell transplant report:

Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

HE GAVE LIGHT

A stem cell transplant miracle speaks at his Bar Mitzvah

There he was, speaking with enthusiasm, with confidence in front of several hundred people. A newly minted adult Jew in his pristine Bar Mitzvah clothing, chosen with such care for this very special occasion. Flanked by his father and grandfather, he was too involved to notice the tears in their eyes as they remembered. Scenes from his babyhood flashed through their minds and   enhanced the significance of this momentous evening a thousand fold. His father thought of the day he was born when he first heard the shouts, “It’s a boy! It’s a boy!” His joy was boundless. Avichai’s grandfather recalled how he would stop by the house every day on his way to work just to see Avichai. “He’s my pal. He makes my day!” And they recalled the day their world fell apart.  When their precious Avichai was diagnosed with leukemia. The baby’s uncle was Dr. Jerry Stein, the director of the Bone Marrow Unit at Schneiders, a major hospital in Israel. His professional knowledge did not allow for any rosy dreams. He knew that 50% of these patients die. “My heart fell out of my chest when I heard the news!”

Will a stem cell transplant donor be found?

The only hope was Ezer Mizion’s International Bone Marrow Registry, the largest Jewish registry worldwide. A stem cell transplant was needed to save this young life. Genetic matching between donor and recipient is vital for success. A search was performed. The computer raced through hundreds of thousands of names. The staff held their collective breath. The family sat glued to the phone immersed in the timeless words of Tehillim (Psalms). Would the response be the ominous words: No Match Found, a virtual death sentence? Or would there miraculously be a genetic match? From the millions of Jews that inhabit the earth, would there exist a near perfect DNA match? Would he be among those registered in the Registry? A click, a bing. A sound barely heard in the busy office. The computer had stopped at a file. His name was Ziv. His parents had named him Ziv which means light, because he had brought light into their world. And now he was about to do the same for Avichai’s family.

Avichai after his Stem Cell Transplant with Ziv, the Donor

“Would you be willing to donate to save a little boy’s life?” he was asked. The question hardly made any sense to him. “What is the question? Of course, I would donate.”

A year later, the two families met. The little boy, now a healthy, mischievous two-year-old, handed Ziv a present, a Chanukah menorah, a candelabrum of light, and gave his new friend a hug. The atmosphere was electric with unspoken words. Avichai would live!

Avichai Thanks Ezer Mizion for Finding a Stem Cell Donor for him

His family rubbed their eyes. The audience of hundreds were listening intently. Many knew his story. Was this a dream? No, it is real. Avichai has become a man. A Bar Mitzvah bochur (young man). He would grow and mature. He would marry and raise a family who would, in turn, raise their own families… generations…eternity.  

Bar Mitzvah Celebration with Avichai Dancing with Ziv who Made Possible the Life-Saving Stem Cell Transplant
Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Because of You!

Monthly Stem Cell Transplant Update

Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Because of You!

So grateful to start the new year with the power number of 18.

18 = LIFE.

Thankful that we were able to give 18 people the gift of life.
18 bright futures ahead.

18 families who can sleep better at night.

18 people who are finally in recovery.

We are excited to start this new year with 18, Chai- Life!

May it be a year of many life-saving stem cell transplants!

Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail