The Ultimate Birthday Gift


It was her 20th birthday. She had planned to celebrate by going out of town. But Kaya changed her plans and saved a life instead. Upon her induction into the IDF at 18, she had registered with Ezer Mizion’s Bone Marrow Registry, never dreaming that she, from among 700,000 fellow registrants, would ever be called.
But among the many calls of birthday wishes, she received one call that enabled her to ‘give birth’ to someone her own age, a cancer patient whose sole chance of survival was a bone marrow transplant.
“Of course, I changed my birthday plans and, no, it was not fun to receive injections in my lower back for four days and then spend six hours lying on my back while my stem cells were separated and prepared. But I was thrilled at receiving a birthday present that allowed me to be the giver of the ultimate gift: life itself. Giving bone marrow on my birthday is like giving new life. There is something very symbolic and inspiring about it. Now I can just hope that thanks to the donation, this young woman whom I don’t know will recover quickly and agree to meet me. As far as I’m concerned, a very special bond was formed between us, even though we have never yet met.”
In 1996, Moshe Schayek, a young man desperate for a bone marrow transplant, turned to Ezer Mizion for assistance in finding a matching donor. Ezer Mizion’s Cancer Support Division helped his family coordinate a bone marrow drive, but no match was found among the 5,000 people who participated in the drive. Sadly, the young man died, but he left a legacy that has enabled hundreds of other sick Jews to live by establishment of Ezer Mizion’s International Bone Marrow Donor Registry.
As of December 1, 2014, the Registry has grown to include 740,059 potential donors! An incredible 311,025 of these potential donors are IDF recruits who joined the registry following a landmark agreement between Ezer Mizion and the Israel Defense Forces whereby new recruits routinely undergo testing as part of their induction process.
Since the establishment of Ezer Mizion’s Bone Marrow Donor Registry in 1998, it has handled thousands of search requests from dozens of transplant centers in 48 countries around the world. Ezer Mizion’s Registry has made 7,490 complete donor-patient matches that have facilitated 1,703 stem cell transplants saving the lives of Jewish patients throughout the world and sparing thousands of people untold anguish.
Today, Ezer Mizion’s Bone Marrow Donor Registry is the largest Jewish registry in the world. Because donors and recipients need to be genetically compatible, Jewish patients generally require Jewish stem cell donors. The Registry is a vital resource for thousands of Jewish patients and serves as a safety net for Jews everywhere.

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