The Best Birthday Present

What’s the best birthday present you ever received? I’ll tell you what mine was, says Noy Arielli. It was an opportunity. An opportunity to give to someone I didn’t even know. An opportunity to save the life of another Jew. My Rabbi had said that a birthday is a time to celebrate being alive and to use the day to give to others. So you can imagine how grateful I felt when the opportunity to do just that fell into my lap. A bit before I had received a call from Ezer Mizion Bone Marrow Registry. I had completely forgotten about my having registered with them about 8 years ago. But they didn’t forget. They keep people on the database for decades in the hope that someday they will be found to be a genetic match for a cancer patient whose sole chance of survival is a stem cell transplant.  When an oncology clinic calls – it may be from any part of the world – it’s important that a match be found soon. You see, a cancer patient can’t wait. Ezer Mizion is the largest Jewish registry in the world and has over a million potential donors. Well, the computers began their search. I can imagine the tension in the room as the little circle went round and round. And then click! My name lit up. From all those million files, it was my DNA that matched. They were still nervous, they told me later. Maybe the donor is too involved in a new job or is on vacation or is expecting a baby or maybe she’ll just plain back out.

The ring on my phone was like that of any other call. I didn’t know it was my birthday present on the line.   When they asked me, I nearly shouted, “Yes! Of course I’ll do it.” The questions came afterwards. I needed information but there was no doubt in my mind that i would do it.  I already felt a connection to the recipient. Him? Her? A child? A grandmother? It didn’t matter. When my birthday came, I sat there  for  several hours, just smiling with happiness.  I was really saving a life!

Of course, my role was only part off the story, a third of what Ezer Mizion calls the Triangle of Life. Before that, funds had to be raised to pay for the genetic testing of new registrants. That came from all of you out there who donate so generously, sometimes in highly unusual ways. Like the employees of the Israeli high-tech company, Syna Media. They got together and voted on each one donating a day of his vacation to Ezer Mizion. This donation culminated in an astounding sum of 200,000 Shekels to Ezer Mizion’s bone marrow registry. This amount will be used towards swabbing 555 potential stem cell donors who will be added to the constantly expanding registry. Some of those will one day be the lucky ones and receive the same call I did.. all because the Syna Media people gave up one day of their vacations. Pretty special, wouldn’t you say?

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L’chaim! To Life

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A cancer patient cannot wait!

He was eight years old. Third grade is a time for small boys to learn multiplication tables in the classroom and how to pitch a ball in the schoolyard. But Naftali* had learned neither of these. Instead he learned about IV’s and scary hospital equipment, about hair falling out and about roommates who ‘disappeared’ never to return. Naftali had cancer. The medical staff called his parents in for a meeting. There was only one recourse left: a bone marrow transplant. It would save his life but a genetic match would have to be found soon or… it may be too late. Jews will genetically match other Jews and so Ezer Mizion was contacted. Ezer Mizion’s registry with close to a million potential donors is the largest Jewish registry in the world, but, for Naftali, it was not large enough. There was no match. Continue reading L’chaim! To LifeFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Rx: Smiles

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Raising the spirits to partner with the body in curing cancer

No adoring Grandma and Grandpa took a turn to snip off a bit of his sweet, little curls. There was no hair to sweep up from the floor. No peyos (sidelocks) adorned his little face. But there was a yarmulke and tzitzis and there was joy. The family celebrated his upsherin (celebration of first haircut) , his first milestone, with joy, with hope and with prayer that there would be many more milestones to celebrate in the future. Continue reading Rx: SmilesFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

It’s For Real

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Cancer Support: soothing the pain

pr tfillin All he wanted was to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah with Ima….   But his mother is a cancer patient. It’s bad. The top doctors have given up on finding her a cure… They say it’s just a matter of days. And the boy? He didn’t want to be an orphan before his Bar Mitzvah! His only wish: to have his mother at his side on his Big Day. A wish so small… but so out of reach.

💔 A wish that tears the heart to pieces. A heart that can only be made whole again by someone who has within him a giant heart – big enough to encompass a young boy’s pain.

♥ Moishy B, an Ezer Mizion volunteer is such a man whose heart beats with irrepressible, boundless chessed. Work schedules, personal errands all fell by the wayside as he devoted the day to bringing the boy to the homes of gedolei Yisrael (Jewish leaders) to get their blessing in honor of the simchah. Touching the greatness of our gedolim, being soothed by their words of compassion helped heal a heart torn asunder.

📖 Together, they traveled to Jerusalem to daven (pray) at the Kotel and even had a tour of the Kotel Tunnels, specially produced by another Ezer Mizion volunteer, our Man of Action – Moishy H.

🎁 And to top things off (after all, he’s only a young boy)… a bag of gifts and perks organized by Ezer Mizion’s  warm-hearted Mrs. M.

bandaged heart  Ezer Mizion ­– we’re there when it hurts. It’s not just a slogan. It’s for real!

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Cancer Support: soothing the pain
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A Note Meant for You, Our Dear Friends and Supporters

pr fileThis  post is my platform to scream it out to the entire world – THANK YOU!

On the way home from Tel Hashomer this morning, just when I had finished saying, “Thank you,” for all the great mitzvahs that this organization does for us, a song started playing on the radio that could not have been more symbolic for me:

Hallelujah, forever,

Hallelujah – everyone will sing.

With one, lone word,

The heart is full of tons of gratitude.

It, too, shouts  – what a wonderful world!

Hallelujah – with the song.

Hallelujah – for each day that dawns

Hallelujah – for what was,

And for what wasn’t yet – Hallelujah.”

Until quite recently, Ezer Mizion was “just another organization,” as far as I was concerned.

I didn’t really know what they did.

I linked up with them via a co-worker who understood that I was coming from a place of deep frustration.

I explained to them that my father is a cancer patient whose condition is not good and, unfortunately, he cannot get around now. When he needs to go to  Tel Hashomer, he has no other means of transportation other than a so very costly ambulance.

On the other end of the line was a nice fellow named Shmulik, with huge patience and a pleasant demeanor. In an instant, my father was added to the Ezer Mizion Transportation Roster and only a quick phone call was needed to bring the nicest, kindliest, most respectful drivers each time transportation was needed. Cost: $0

Even when Abba was hospitalized and we forgot to cancel the transport.

Even when we forget to update some detail.

Even when we canceled at the last minute because our head isn’t on straight due to everything that’s going on.

Even when they had to explain everything to me 80 times over.

Even when it means having to send an ambulance especially for us because we’re not on the route,

Even then, they responded with  full understanding, giving us such a good feeling.

So thank you, dear, special people on the other end of the line and behind the steering wheel. Thank you to Shmulik, Danny, and the wonderful girls at the ambulance call-in center and the message reception center. Thank you for being the entire world for people like us, who lose their way a little at the beginning.

Thank you!

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