Israeli Bride Doesn’t Let Rare Snowstorm Stop Her Wedding

This Jerusalem-based bride to the right had many plans for her wedding day, but they did not include traveling to her wedding via an ambulance during a major snowstorm.

Ezer Mizion ambulances spent the day transporting chemo and dialysis patients, and food to hospitals, and topped off the day with transporting this kallah to her wedding.

Photo: Ezer Mizion.

Infrared Meteostat Visualization: EUMETSAT.

Cartoon after the jump.

Courtesy of The Cartoon Kronicles.

A Real Story for Purim: The Turnaround

— by Yael Katzir

I was 32 years old then. I registered with Ezer Mizion’s Bone Marrow Donor Registry as a potential donor for any cancer patient that I would match genetically. It really happened. I got the call that I was a match for someone. I was thrilled. I scheduled the pre-donation blood tests. ‘It’ll just take a short while. I’ll be back at work soon,’ I told my co-workers. It was a simple blood test done at a lab. You know the type. You close your eyes and pretend that someone is not jabbing a needle into your arm. You pretend that you’re not scared and try to be mature about it. It’s over in a moment and you go back to normal life. But I didn’t go back to normal life. As my mind was shifting back to work responsibilities, I was told, ‘Instead of donating your stem cells, you’d better see a doctor.’

The rest of the story after the jump.
I went to a doctor, who sent me straight to the hospital where I stayed for three days until the results came: ‘Yael, you have leukemia!’ In one moment, I turned from a potential donor about to save the life of another into a recipient whose precious life — please, G-d, please — will hopefully be saved by an unknown donor.

The race was on. Would a donor be found soon? On time? Interrupting my tear-filled prayers, the phone rang. “Yes!” said the jubilant voice on the other end. “We have a donor!

I remember how my husband, my mother and I sat in the hospital room and laughed at the little bag of blood. There we were, waiting for a dramatic, life-saving “something”, and all of a sudden, the doctor walks in with this little bag of blood and says: ‘Here’s the donation’. At that moment, you can’t even absorb and understand what is really happening. Certainly not to appreciate the meaning of that little bag.

My family and I wanted very much to meet the donor and thank him, but it took time. Legally, the donor and recipient cannot meet for at least a year after the donation. The meeting finally took place in a conference room at Ezer Mizion’s Guest Home for Cancer Patients. I think there were a lot of people in the room. I myself was floating. Words cannot describe this moment! It was too moving and powerful to convert into mere syllables.

The fact that they allowed me to meet the donor proved that the transplant was well received. It worked! ‘If I am allowed to meet my donor, it means that everything is all right… I’ve recovered! I am really healthy!’

G-d, thank you! For Ezer Mizion that set up and runs this amazing registry. For planting compassion in the heart of my donor so that he would want to join the registry. For all the caring people who make this possible by financially supporting this great work.

About two and a half years ago, I had a baby boy. As soon as he was born, I knew what we would call him. We named him Uri — the name of the donor.

That’s it. That’s my story. It changed my life.

If my moment can give you a new appreciation of the so-called “routine” moments in your everyday life, and move you to thank the Creator again and again for moments that you used to take for granted, then that one moment of thanks on your part for the blessed routine of your life makes the whole story of ‘my moment’ worthwhile.  

If Only…

— by Chani Miller

A little over one month ago, Ezer Mizion coordinated a massive bone marrow donor drive throughout Israel.

For many cancer patients, the sole chance of survival is a bone marrow transplant. To be successful, both donor and patient must match genetically. It is essential to have a match readily available at the time of need as the patient’s condition can deteriorate quickly.

More after the jump.
The goal of the recent drive was to enlarge the Registry and increase the presence of underrepresented ethnicities. Different ethnic groups were represented at the drive by patients from various communities. Yosef Karchili, of Georgian descent, was one of the ethnic poster patients.

Unfortunately, Yosef passed away the morning of the drive. The 54-year-old blood cancer patient could not wait any more for the stem cell donor he needed that could have saved his life but was not found in time…

As the lab testing results return and are processed in the Registry, the urgency of having a matching donor ready for patients at their time of need was even further accented.

From among the twenty thousand people who joined the registry at the single day donor recruitment drive, there was one who is a perfect match for Karchili. If only the funding for this drive had been available earlier… if only this registrant had been on the database when the request for a transplant for Yosef had come in… If only the transplant would have been done in time, Karchili could have been alive today.

Ironically, the match is someone who works in the same building where Karchili was employed!

It is essential that Ezer Mizion’s Registry, the largest Jewish registry in the world, be enlarged from its current 600,000 to 1,000,000 registrants to ensure that there will be a matching donor there for almost every cancer patient when he needs it. A cancer patient cannot wait!

Blood Brothers

— Hannah Miller

He was twelve years old and the room was filled with well-wishers celebrating his birthday. Shouts of excitement over meeting a friend or seeing a favorite cake being served filled the air of this happy occasion. And then it stopped. Silence. A young man with his wife stood in the doorway. It was him. The guests stopped their conversation in mid-sentence while Marc’s parents rushed to the doorway to greet the new guests. All four cried. Marc stood nearby shyly waiting to be noticed. It was not long in coming. “This is Marc,” his father introduced him and Menashe embraced the young boy in a hug that only a brother could give.

Because he was a brother. A blood brother.

Two years ago, Marc had been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease. Celebrating his twelfth birthday seemed highly unlikely indeed.

More after the jump.
A bone marrow transplant was his only chance and, to be successful, the donor and recipient must match genetically. All members of Marc’s immediate family were tested but none were a match. The oncology clinic, aware that Marc was Jewish, approached Ezer Mizion, the largest Jewish Registry in the world, in the hope that a match would be found among its close to 600,000 potential donors. Menashe was that match. And he happily agreed

Medical staff meetings. Further tests. Waiting. Discussions. More waiting… The decision was finalized. The transplant would take place. Menashe received a phone call from an Ezer Mizion staff member, one of the hundreds of phone calls he had received recently. You see, Menashe had just become engaged. The staff member gulped when she heard the news. “Does this mean that you won’t be…” But Menashe cut her off, “Of course, I’ll still go ahead. Just let me know when. Any day except my wedding day.” Well, it wasn’t on his wedding day, but it was only one week before. Menashe left the world of excitement and the myriad of preparatory tasks and entered the world of a little boy, a boy whom he had never met, a boy who lived halfway across the world from him, a boy who would soon become his blood brother.

Marc’s mother offered Menashe and his wife a slice of cake. “You saved our son’s life.” she said. “There are no words to thank you.”