Swing for Life

Russell whose life was saved by Ezer Mizion with his wife, Sharon and baby grandson

Ezer Mizion’s annual Golf and Tennis Tournament was held at the pristine Seawane Country Club. Sunshine pervaded the green as the players teed off, elevated by the knowledge that each stroke   was a strike against cancer.

The event entitled Swing for Life serves to benefit Ezer Mizion’s International Bone Marrow Registry. For many cancer patients, a bone marrow transplant is their only chance to survive. Genetic matching between donor and patient is essential for success and, since genetics is based on ethnicity, Jewish donors are needed for Jewish patients. Ezer Mizion is the largest Jewish registry in the world and has saved 3980 lives, 390 in 2020 alone. However, too many requests are not yet met and it is vital that the registry be enlarged. All proceeds of the event will fund the expensive genetic testing of many more potential donors, thus greatly increasing the chances of each request being met with a positive response.

Manny Malekan and Simmie Chiger, Committee Chairs, were thrilled to have the event completely sold out. They were ably assisted the hard-working committee: Dr. Aaron Cynamon, Alex Dembitzer, David Neiss, Dr. David Ritholtz, Dr. Alan Spiegel, Sruli Szpigiel, Jordan Chiger, Zachary Chiger, Jonathon Halpert , Eytan Feldman, Michael Pfeiffer, Dovid Schulman and Jeremy Wulwick.  Each member felt the pride of being part of ‘something big’. The Ezer Mizion ‘Hole in One’ Donor Pool, funded by golf events held both in the US and Israel, has already saved over 90 lives.

Simmie Chiger shared his story with the guests: how he had recently been in a horrific accident and he thanked Hashem with the words: Perhaps the merit of my helping to save the lives of others enabled my own life to be saved.  

The guests were treated to a delectable dinner during which the purpose of the event was further brought home. The attendees met Russell, a young grandfather of three, who thanked Ezer Mizion for enabling him to enjoy watching his grandchildren grow up.  In a moving speech, Russell described his feelings when he received his diagnosis. It occurred so unexpectedly as a result of a routine exam.   The doctor had said he was in good health, like a man 15 years his junior except for a quirky blood test which was probably a mistake. Well, it wasn’t a mistake. Russell soon found himself confronting a monster named Cancer who had entered uninvited into his idyllic life.

For Russell, there was light at the end of his tunnel. Motti, one of the over 1,000,000 Ezer Mizion registrants, was a perfect genetic match. As Russell was about to leave the stage, he was asked if he would like to meet his donor for the first time.  Motti was then brought to the stage where the two embraced as only two brothers can. It was Motti’s blood that now flowed through Russell’s arteries. The two men will forever be intertwined.

Each attendee left the club that evening , knowing that there were many, many ‘Russell’s’ out there- some of them even small children- and he had helped to save Jewish lives.

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1100 Thank You’s

IDF celebration 2016 fA decade ago, the IDF recognized the invaluable initiative of Ezer Mizion’s International Jewish Bone Marrow Registry and became its partner in saving the lives of cancer patients around the globe.  An Ezer Mizion Registration Booth became an integral part of the IDF Recruiting Station enabling new recruits to join the Registry.  Thus began the much lauded partnership between Ezer Mizion and the Israel Defense Forces which enabled its soldiers to not only protect its country but also saves Jewish lives worldwide. The vast range of ethnic groups among the soldiers have resulted in a dramatically positive response to the thousands of  search requests for a genetic match for patients whose sole chance of survival is a transplant.  To date, eleven hundred IDF soldiers have donated their stem cells to cancer patients worldwide.

IDF celebration 2016 g In the words of an overjoyed mother: Who would have imagined that a young religious man from Israel would be the only person in the world who could save our son’s life as he battled AML? We are forever grateful to this wonderful organization, Ezer Mizion, and the work they do.

In keeping with his great respect for the work of Ezer Mizion, President Reuven Rivlin and his esteemed First Lady opened the Presidential Residence to host the momentous event honoring these IDF soldiers who were individually presented with treasured Lifesaving Medallions. The guests witnessed the results of the soldiers’ altruism, Jews who were only alive today because these young men had joined the Registry.

IDF cebration 2016 hDr. Bracha Zisser, together with her husband Moti, who recently succumbed to his own bout with cancer, had founded Ezer Mizion’s Bone Marrow Registry in 1998 when they clearly saw the need for a Jewish registry.  Dr. Zisser took the microphone and began speaking about a man named Erez Raslovsky, then stopped mid-speech and called him up to tell his own story. In a voice choked with tears, he thanked Ezer Mizion that his children would not have to grow up as orphans. A family man with a wife and kids, he had been told that he had only six months to live. “I would love to meet the man who saved my children’s father,” he ended. Within seconds, as if drawn by a strong magnet, Omer Ben Horin ran up to the stage no longer able to hold back his tears. The two embraced. Like brothers, from here on in, they would always be a part of each other’s lives. David and Sarah Farajun, whose donor pool had funded the genetic testing of Ben Horin, joined the two on stage in an emotional triangle of triumph. Soon it Shir Tahar’s turn to tell her story. She had been planning a trip to South America. She expected minor difficulties perhaps a delayed flight or a missing suitcase. What she didn’t expect wasIDF celebration 2016 d leukemia. Literally on the eve of her flight, she experienced extreme pain in her legs. Prognosis: possible death unless a bone marrow transplant could take place soon. She met her donor, Eyal Goldman, for the first time on the lawn of the Presidential Residence. “ I owe him my life,” she cried.

Guests were shown a heartrending film of an angelic nine-year-old girl recently diagnosed with cancer who was waiting for the Phone Call. At nine, she understood that without a bone marrow transplant, she would not celebrate her tenth birthday. Will a DNA match be found? In time? While her mother hugs her and urges her to be strong and have hope, each guest inwardly joins in her prayers, her dreams of a future. President Rivlin was visibly moved as he began his address, noting that this is not the usual event hosted at the Presidential Residence.

The celebration was followed by a dinner. The two events were filled with a myriad of guests with nary an inch to spare. Chananya Chollak, International Chairman of Ezer Mizion, warmly welcomed the guests saying we are all one family and feel each other’s pain. And one family it was. All eyes were riveted to the dias  as David Ivry, vice President of Boeing International, whose Donor Pool Circle has saved many lives emIDF celebration 2016 cotionally stated what so many other founders of Donor Pool Circles have found to be true: whoever gives receives so much more. He was followed by others who thanked Ezer Mizion. Said Avrohom Fluk, Chairman of the Board of YDI Ltd.: My hand trembled when I first received a letter saying I had saved a life. Saved a life? I had saved a world as the Talmud states. I had saved a family. I had saved his children. His grandchildren. His great-grandchildren. If I had to sum it up in one word it would be Thank You. Thank you Ezer Mizion for giving me such an opportunity. Said Manny Malekan of Malechite Group Ltd.: In two weeks it will be Rosh Hashona. Hashem will ask, “What have you done with the year I gave you? Is your life worth continuing? And I have an answer, “ I have helped Ezer Mizion!” One after the other, the dais was graced with those who helped save a life and those whose lives were saved.   Atty. Moriel Matalon’s son fervently thanked Ezer IDF celebration 2016 bMizion for saving his father’s life. He was joined by his two young daughters who added their gratitude in their sweet, childish voices. Within seconds, the grandfather ascended the stage and hugged them all before beginning his own expression of appreciation of being able to watch his grandchildren grow up. He ended by ceremoniously donning a yarmulka and reciting the blessing thanking Hashem for giving him life. Three generations of the Farajun family joined others in thanking Ezer Mizion for enabling them to save sixty-six lives! The evening’s speeches were interspersed with songs of hope and dreams, creating an ambience high above the mundane of everyday living. The linen napkins, so crisp and sparkling only an hour before, were damp with tears as the hearts of the guests joined with those appearing on the dais, so gratified and elated to be a part of Ezer Mizion’s life-saving mission.Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Swing for Life

pr golf 2016 Simmie Chiger speakingEzer Mizion’s annual Golf and Tennis Tournament was held at the pristine Lawrence Yacht & Country Club. Sunshine pervaded the green as the players teed off, elevated by the knowledge that each stroke   was a strike against cancer. Continue reading Swing for LifeFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail