The day Einav Lulian made her way through the frantic atmosphere of the recruitment base, waiting for her new green IDF uniform, she never thought that with a little pinch of a needle at the Ezer Mizion bone marrow sample testing booth, she could save a human life.
“They took a blood sample anyway,” recalls Einav, “so I figured – what’s another prick? There are so many sick people out there, it was the least I could do.” Like hundreds of other soldiers at the recruitment base every day, she too did her part for the cause.
After Einav’s draft into the IDF, she was stationed as an operational official at the Hammers squadron on a busy air-force base. As part of her job, she was used to responding to never-ending phone calls: an emergency rush takeoff or unplanned scenario. But this time, the call was different and absolutely unexpected. The caller was Ezer Mizion’s Registry telling her that a very ill patient needed a donation of her matching stem cells.
“I had almost forgotten all about the sample I gave. When they called to tell me that I was a match, I literarly cried with joy,” says Einav, reliving the dramatic moment. “I had no doubt that I wanted to go through with it. I was just afraid that something would go wrong and I wouldn’t be qualified anymore. I didn’t know what was required of me but I was certain that I was going to do it.”
A row of tests revealed a 100% match. Einav stood, tall and determined, outside the hospital doors. “I walked towards the oncology floor and saw many difficult, sad things. It brought tears to my eyes. I felt like I was really doing something important,” says Einav. “The process was not especially pleasant. I was connected to machines was very weak and uncomfortable, but all I could think of was how the person who needs my stem cells feels.” Einav’s parents and friends were behind her all the way. “I got such positive feedback from everyone I knew.”
Now, in the aftermath of the transplant, one mystery remains: the identity of the recipient. Right now, all Einav knows that it is a 50-year-old man. “Other than that, I don’t know a thing: how many children he has, what illness he has, if he smokes, nothing.”
Standard procedure in bone marrow transplants is to allow the donor and recipient to meet only after a year has elapsed, and even that is dependent on many factors. In this case, Einav will have to wait two years. In the interim, Einav decided to write her recipient a letter and send it to the patient via Ezer Mizion.
In her carefully penned words, she thanked the patient for giving her the privilege of saving a life. “I don’t know yet if the donation was accepted and what his condition is today. I hope and pray that it was a success,” says Einav wistfully.
Thanks to her donation, Einav made a virtual revolution in her family and service unit. Following her example, many of her relatives and her friends at the base decided to join the Registry as well, in the hope that they too might “win the jackpot” and have a chance to save a life.