They Said It Will Never Happen

It was my birthday and I knew just what I wanted. When I was a little kid, I had some birthday requests that were so out of line that even i understood they were just dreams. Like the time I wanted a horse (We were living in an apartment building.) Now as an adult about to turn 40, my birthday dream seemed just as unattainable. What was it?  : A gift of giving, It’s what Ezer Mizion calls a Personalized Donor Pool – a group of potential bone marrow registrants who stand ready to save the lives of cancer patients. My own group whose genetic testing I would be responsible for. Whenever one of them would be found to be a match for a cancer patient and donate his stem cells, I would receive a call with the electrifying words: You have saved a life. What a gift! Every month, I would read the list of names of those  whose pools had saved one, sometimes two, lives and I’d think, “Why not me?!”

Elkanah – a recent hero who saved a life!

And so I began working on my birthday gift. I drove everyone crazy.   There were hundreds of messages on my facebook page focusing only on this. My whole family was caught up. Even my kids were involved answering phones all night. It was a matter of raising a large sum of money and some of my friends teased me with comments like, ‘Dream on…’ but some of my friends responded more encouragingly and joined in to help me. And as the numbers climbed up, more and more changed their minds and decided to join what seemed to be a winning team. The final numbers (for this year- remember,I have another birthday coming up next year…):

728 people who donated a total of $40,000+ that sponsored 716 new registry members!

Recently our donor pool was launched. My husband and I came for a tour of Ezer Mizion’s cancer support facility in Petah Tikvah. We got home an hour ago and the tears don’t stop flowing. If I only could show all of you what this place looks like! It’s an entire world of chessed, What they do for the patients! To walk into the Registry and see a soldier who was found to be a match for a patient sitting there, waiting to donate, to give life to another human being. Many of them. All spending hours of their time just so someone they never met could have a future. 

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The Giving Circle

Moriel Matalon
Moriel Matalon

Moriel Matalon is Managing Partner at Israel’s well known Gornitzky Law Office. In addition, he is chairman of Unicef- Israel, the local branch of the UN’s International Children’s Emergency Fund. He had climbed high on the ladder of success but his position did not intimidate the fiend named Cancer who arrived uninvited as a nightmare set to destroy Moriel’s life and that of his family. They were devastated. The doctors held out only one ray of hope: a bone marrow transplant. Would a genetically matching donor be found? In time? Before…? Mr. Matalon was among the fortunate ones. Avi Cohen, one among over 850,000 potential Ezer Mizion donors, was that match. It’s a year and a half later and a healthy Moriel met Avi for the first time. “It was exhilarating to find myself in the same room with a man whose life I personally had saved,” exclaimed Avi. Moriel hugged his benefactor in a wordless expression of gratitude for the gift that can never be paid back. As grateful as he and his family were, there remained the ‘missing piece’: the feeling of no possible way of repaying the unrepayable.

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Stem cells being removed from blood of donor to be transplanted into patient

All that changed recently when Moriel re-entered the hospital doors, a place of so many memories. Continue reading The Giving CircleFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail