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.