Inauguration of New IDF Testing Center

In 2005, the IDF and Ezer Mizion’s International Jewish Bone Marrow Registry entered an agreement whereby every IDF recruit passes through the Bone Marrow Registry station as part of the induction process and is given the opportunity to join Ezer Mizion’s registry through a simple blood test. It was the hope of Ezer Mizion that soldiers would opt to register for genetic testing as potential donors to help Jewish cancer patients whose only chance of survival is a bone marrow transplant. “In my dreams I saw numerous soldiers joining, but I never believed that the station would become such a center of attraction for so many,” said Dr. Bracha Zisser, Director of Ezer Mizion’s Bone Marrow Donor Registry. And so, to accommodate the unforeseen need, Ezer Mizion’s Blood Sample Collection Station has been newly renovated. IDF Human Resources Director, Maj. Gen. Avi Zamir, IDF Chief Medical Officer, Brig. Gen. Dr. Nachman Esh, International Chairman of Ezer Mizion, Chananya Chollak, and other IDF key personnel converged to inaugurate the new station at Tel HaShomer Induction Base.

“In addition to being an entity that protects the safety of the State of Israel, through its cooperation with Ezer Mizion, the IDF has also become a health protection network for the Jews throughout the world,” added Dr. Bracha Zisser. Dr. Zisser also pointed out that IDF soldiers are actually found to be suitable donors much more frequently than Israeli civilians, because they represent a broad spectrum of the ethnic groups among Jews.

“Ezer Mizion’s remodeled collection station that we are inaugurating today presents us with an opportunity to enlarge the registry and help Jews all over the world  whose lives depend on stem cell transplants,” said Maj. Gen. Avi Zamir during the ceremony. “Every year thousands of people worldwide are diagnosed with diseases that can only be cured with the help of bone marrow transplants, but only about one third of them find a donor through their family members. Everyone can help by donating bone marrow, and through a simple blood test, the right bone marrow can be found for any patient.”

“We are proud of the increase of IDF soldiers donating bone marrow,” said Maj. Gen. Zamir. In the four years since the establishment of the station, almost 120,000 IDF soldiers have joined Ezer Mizion’s Registry. “We train our soldiers to fulfill their military duties and missions at all times, however complex and sensitive they may be, and still remain human. There is no closer or more important bond between one human being and another, between someone who is in need and someone who is able to give than donating bone marrow, and especially when talking about a donation that saves someone’s life,” added Maj. Gen. Zamir.

Cpl. Roy Shogar, a Field Intelligence Corps combat soldier, joined the Registry on the day of his induction. Last July he was contacted by Ezer Mizion because he was found as a matching stem cell donor. He happily went ahead and donated his stem cells that saved the life of a 30 year old cancer patient.

“As they promised, the process of collecting the stem cells didn’t hurt at all,” he said and added that he is waiting impatiently for next year when he will be able to meet the patient who has recovered. “It is an amazing feeling to know that you have the ability to save someone’s life. I recommend that everyone who can should join a stem cell registry and back what is being done to save people’s lives.”







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