— by Hannah Miller
He is only twelve but he knew his way around the large building with its many offices. He came every day and was known by the staff. He approached the entrance today. Tense. Anxious. His fists clenched in anticipation of what he would hear. His shoulders sagging in discouragement. But yet a tiny glimmer of hope in his eyes. The sign at the office door read Ezer Mizion Bone Marrow Registry. It was a simple sign but it contained the world. His world. He entered. “Have you found a match for my mother today,” he asked.
The staff found it so difficult to answer the boy. He knew he would receive an official call from the office if there was good news but he couldn’t wait for that. And so he came every day. His mother was dying of cancer but a bone marrow transplant could produce the cure. It was her only chance. And it was a good chance. With the transplant, his mother would bake him cupcakes again. She would grin with joy when he brought home a 100 on a test and join him on a trek through the mountains on a family trip. She would remind him to do his homework and he would beg to go out to play and promise to do it later. She would get angry at him and scold him and it would be wonderful. But now? Now she just lay there on the hospital bed. She didn’t even smile when he handed her his report card full of A’s. A button had come off his shirt and she didn’t even notice.
You see, the transplant can only take place if a donor who is a genetic match can be found and Ezer Mizion, the largest Jewish Bone Marrow Registry in the world, had none. Genetic testing, unlike blood group testing, is very expensive. Ezer Mizion has close to 600,000 registrants but it is not enough. Many are saved but many are… not. Compassionate Jews the world over have become aware of the need for an enlarged Jewish registry as an insurance policy for worldwide Jewry and they contribute generously. As funding comes in, more are tested. Every day, new potential donors join the registry. The young boy will be there tomorrow again. He’ll ask his question again. And tomorrow the answer will be…