Of Filing and Saving Lives

Nofer Mazal works as a secretary at the Barzilai Hospital’s Mammography Institute in Ashkelon. She knows her work is important but it’s hard to associate filing and answering phones with saving lives. Recently, Ms. Mazel was singled out from hundreds of secretaries doing routine work for the privilege of directly saving the life of a leukemia patient. It all began a year ago when Ezer Mizion’s International Bone Marrow Registry undertook a drive to register new potential bone marrow donors. Blood samples were taken and each was genetically tested and the information stored among over 600,000 files. “It may be a month or several years or maybe never,” she had been told. “Your information will remain in our database for a cancer patient whose sole chance of survival is a bone marrow transplant. Genetic typing is very complex. We’ll call you if we have a patient with similar DNA makeup.” And so Nofer went back to her secretarial duties, her registration only a tiny blip in her busy life.


And then the call came. The ringing of the phone didn’t sound any different than the many calls she receives from friends, work colleagues and telemarketing companies. But this call was very different. The Ezer Mizion representative informed her that she, and only she, from the current close to 650,000 potential donors, is a genetic match to a patient who will die if he does not receive a transplant shortly.

“Will you do it?” she was asked. Her hand shook as she held the phone. Her voice was non-existent.

“Ms. Mazel, are you there? Do you understand what I am asking?”

Nofer turned white. She was terrified, excited, proud and panicky  all at once.

“Yes! Yes!” She managed to shout into the phone. “Of course, I’ll do it.”


The procedure is over. The nervousness, the discomfort are all things of the past. All she can recall now is the tremendous joy and satisfaction knowing that she has saved a life. Legally she has not yet been allowed to meet the patient yet but she has recently been informed that the procedure done four months ago was a success. She prays each day that funding will be available for Ezer Mizion to enlarge its registry to the One Million mark so that statistically, virtually each patient in need will receive a transplant before it’s too late.


To share the anguish and the joy of a family who lived through a nightmare: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A77g96zfO2c&feature=plcp


For further info: www.ezermizion.org


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