“It all started with a government contract in 2013 that required a complex background check, including detailed physical exam. I am the owner of commercial cleaning company”, says RK. “Of course, I wanted to dot every ‘i’ on this very lucrative deal. The physical was a bit of a problem since my doctor was not available. So I went to the sub who refused to fill out the form without an exam. I noticed the doctor becoming agitated as he listened to my heart. Well, there was good reason for his agitation. It turned out that I had a heart condition that required open heart surgery. Pretty scary to think this never would have been discovered if I hadn’t received that contract. Halfway through the post-surgery recovery period, I began feeling chest pains. My heart was checked and found to be fine but my blood was not. What’s going on, I thought to myself. In April the blood work had been fine, now in July suddenly not? So there in the midst of recovering from open heart surgery, I was found to have AML. Isn’t there some rule about not hitting a guy when he’s down? Later on, I was told that I probably had had leukemia for a while but it was held in check. The open heart surgery most likely caused it to develop and spread.
Only a stem cell transplant could save me. Thank G-d, Ezer Mizion found a match for me. The cells would be transported from Israel to my hospital in Chicago. Just one problem. There was a major snowstorm in Chicago at the time. If my cells didn’t get here within that small window of time, we’d have to start all over. You can imagine how much I prayed. Well, they made it and I’m fine now and hope to remain so for many years. After the transplant, my blood became AB positive, a type mosquitoes don’t like- a great side benefit. “
PG and his wife are two balls of energy, speaking in front of an audience of hundreds. It wasn’t long ago that there were no jokes, no smiles. P had visited his doctor regarding recurring sinus infections. They were easy to cure but the cancer that was discovered during the comprehensive physical was not. “I needed a bone marrow transplant to survive and things didn’t look good. Well, I have a new brother now. We met recently. It is Yoni’s blood that is now coursing through my veins. That makes him my blood brother, right? We’ve become very close even though he lives in Israel and I live in the US. We try to spend quality time with each other whenever possible. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for him. After all, he gave me my life.”
A young man sits in a chair for hours. He is attached to a machine that is filtering stem cells from his blood. It’s a comfortable chair and his every need is met. But there is a yearning within him that cannot be satisfied. Soon a little bag of his stem cells will be brought to a different floor where someone is waiting. He has never met that someone. He knows no more than the gender and age of the someone but he feels a deep connection. He knows the someone is feeling tremendous tension at this moment and he longs to reassure him and tell him that it is going fine and he will soon be receiving that little bag of life. He so much would want to be there at that moment when the bag arrives and life – his life – is transplanted into the someone. He wants to hold hands during the moments when they will be becoming blood brothers.
But he can’t. It’s not allowed. Something about international law. They will not be allowed to meet for at least a year. His yearning is strong. It must be satisfied at last partially. So he does the next best thing. He communicates. He writes a note.
How are you?
I’m A., from the bone marrow donation.
I thought that perhaps I’d tell you a little bit about myself, so we could begin to get acquainted with each other — only if you want to, of course.
I’m 24, married to R. and waiting, at this very time, for our first birth, G-d willing. I am studying at Yeshivat Ohr Etzion and my wife is a ninth grade homeroom teacher at the Ulpanah.
I served in the army in the paratroopers’ unit. It was in the army that what brought us together took place — the donation.
Let me tell you a bit of how it was on my part.
One Sunday, I got a call from Ezer Mizion, asking me to get back to them. Already then, I started getting excited: Maybe I was lucky enough to have been found to be a match for a donation?
Indeed, they informed me on the phone that an initial match was found between us for a donation. I felt as if I’d won the lottery, and even more; it was such a great privilege.
Of course, I did the entire process, which you probably are more familiar with than I am, and the whole thing is going smoothly and easily.
Wishing you robust health and much happiness!
There are many donations taking place in Ezer Mizion’s new state of the art Harvesting Center. Next door another note is being written.
I am sure that you have gone through tough things. First of all, I want you to know that you are a real hero! To fight this cursed illness and not to give up is not something that is self-understood.
I hope that the stem cell transplant will help you carry on an easy, free, and normal life. I hope that you recover as fast as possible and that you will be able to return to your family, children, and grandchildren (if you have any).
May you know only happiness, good health, joy, success, and, most important, optimism. Enjoy life and utilize it well, because who knows better than you do that we only have one life to live.
I hope that, one day, I’ll be able to meet you and get to know you.
With great love to you whom I have never met but already feel to be a brother ,
Hundreds of eyes were turned toward the sky. Waiting…for the ball to drop. Ezer Mizion’s Golf Tournament added a new feature to its annual event. The day had been glorious. The weather perfect. Now all players gathered to watch as a bucket truck-cherry picker lifted its bucket 200 feet above the green and dropped 701 golf balls that had been purchased by those participating in Ezer Mizion’s life saving mission. “Where would my ball drop? Would this be my chance to get a Hole in One?” “That was one of the coolest things I have ever seen at a golf tournament!” was heard from so many. Continue reading When Dropping the Ball Saves Lives
“Good morning. Is this Mr. Hyman? I’m calling from the bone marrow registry. You have been found to be a match for a cancer patient!”
I was sitting in my office when I received that call. I had been tested sometime around 1998 and had not thought about that day in years. Then, quite literally, out of the blue, I was asked if I would be willing to go through further testing to confirm that I was a match for “the patient.”
My response was simple: tell me what to do!! The caller from the registry went through some basic info and made sure to tell me that while the procedure for me as a potential stem cell donor, was safe, it was still my choice and “are you sure you want to go through this process?” Continue reading So You Got A Call To Be A Stem Cell Donor?
Ezer Mizion, the largest Jewish registry in the world, has recently celebrated a major milestone. Because of you, our good friends and supporters, we have passed the THREE-THOUSAND mark of transplants. That’s three thousand patients whose lives were saved! Three thousand families who remained whole! Three thousand grandmas and grandpas, Mommies and Daddies and so many tiny, frightened children traveled in one fateful moment from agony to joy, fueled by the electrifying words: We have a genetic match!Continue reading Because of You!!!
BONE MARROW DONOR REGISTRY ACTIVITY SUMMARY OCTOBER 2018
33 transplants, 25 from donor pools 2,969 total transplants 945,052 members in registry Transplant Countries
Austria, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, USA Donor Pool Countries
Brazil, Canada, Israel, USA Continue reading Because of You!
Mike E. was three and a half. The age of zoom-zooming his trucks across the floor. But Mike wasn’t zoom-zooming. The most frequent sound he emitted was a pitiful whimper as, once again, he was subjected to the painful and frightening hospital procedures. Mike was born with CGD, a disease that damages the immune system. His life was in danger and only a stem cell transplant could help. Finding a donor whose DNA matched Mike’s was vital. With a matching donor, he could live. Without… Continue reading Opportunity Knocked and They Answered