Thursday, July 28, 2005

You Can Save A Life!

Arkady emails:
DEAR Blog in Dm,



Given your position as not just a mere blog, but a UNIQE Meeting Place for Jewish Music lovers on the Internet, I believe that this post on Michael Brecker COULD HELP SAVE HIS LIFE, by connecting him to a Jewish community, which falls into a LIKELY DONOR MATCH DEMOGRAPHICS!

Hey, if you found room for mentioning ME, Arkady:), there MUST be room in your Blog for an article on MICHAEL BRECKER!!!, particularly when it's a matter of LIFE AND DEATH, and not just some gig announcement!!!!

I am going to DONATE, if they let me! I just want to do ALL I CAN to SAVE MICHAEL BRECKER'S LIFE! He's been one of THE GREATEST MUSICAL INSPIRATIONS of my life!!! Aside from all his Grammies etc, Michael is unarguably MUSICIANS' MUSICIAN, to say the least!!!

For now, I am emailing this to a bunch of Russians Jews that I know in NYC Area, and many others. I hope that everyone takes this email to heart, and that people use all their CREATIVE THINKING, as far as "connections", in order to increase Michael's ODDS for a DONOR MATCH!

I'll also try to explore any and all OTHER connections that I have to a Jewish Community in NYC and beyond, and I hope that whoever reads this email will do the same!!!...

To quote Michael's wife, Susan --

"This involves getting as many people of a similar genetic background to be tested....

A match for Michael would be most likely to come from those of Eastern European Jewish descent. If you or anyone you know are in this category please make a special effort to immediately get tested.... "

Below is a full text of Susan' Brecker's email. PLEASE READ ALL OF IT!!!

I am in no way a spokesman for Brecker family etc. I am just a sax player who loves Michael Brecker's music, and by forwarding this email from Mrs. Brecker, I am simply trying to help her connect the dots...

 Arkady
web site:
Here's the email from Michael's wife, Susan:
FROM: Susan Brecker
SUBJECT: Michael Brecker needs your help.

Dear Family and Friends,

My husband, Michael Brecker, has been diagnosed with MDS (myelodysplastic syndrome), and its critical that he undergoes a stem cell transplant. The initial search for a donor (including Michael's siblings and children) has not yet resulted in a suitable match. Michael's doctors have told us that we need to immediately explore ALL possible options. This involves getting as many people of a similar genetic background to be tested.

There are some important points to understand concerning this process:

1. The screening involves a blood test only. It can be done veryquickly either at a marrow donation center or at a LOCAL LAB. The cost is anywhere from $40 to $75 and your insurance may cover it.  (In NYC, you can call Frazier, at the NY Blood Bank, at 212-570-3441, and make an appointment for HLA typing.  It costs $40.00.)  Check with your local blood bank, or go to to find the donor center nearest you.

2. Your blood typing information can be posted on the international registry, if you choose, where it would also be available to others in need of a transplant. BEING ON THE REGISTRY DOESN'T MEAN YOU HAVE TO DONATE, it just means that you may be ASKED to do so. You can take your name off the registry at any time.

3.  Should you be selected as a potential donor for Michael,  please understand that there have been tremendous advances in bone marrow transplants and the term itself can be misleading.  Bone marrow donation is no more invasive than giving blood.  Stem cells are simply harvested from your blood and then transplanted to Michael.

4.  A match for Michael would be most likely to come from those of Eastern European Jewish descent. If you or anyone you know are in this category please make a special effort to immediately get tested. Ultimately, you would be doing something not just for Michael, but for so many more who are in a similar situation as my husband.

5. You are now part of our internet-based drive for donor testing. If everyone who receives this can motivate a bunch of their friends to get tested, and those friends then forward this email to get their friends to get tested, we will have rapidly expanded the pool of potential donors. I urge all of you to get tested AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

Any local blood center/Red Cross center can assist in organizing a drive for Michael, although it would be desirable if you can get a large group, e.g. a synagogue, to sponsor it. Should you have any questions about this, please don't hesitate to get in touch with Michael's management office at 212.302.9200 or

Thank you so much for your love and support.

We are so grateful.


Michael Brecker is 56 and an internationally renowned jazz musician. As a result of his harmonic innovations, Michael is among the most studied contemporary instrumentalists in music schools throughout the world today. Michael has played on hundreds of albums with artists ranging from Herbie Hancock to James Taylor, from Paul Simon to Frank Zappa to Quincy Jones, Chet Baker and Bruce Springsteen---and on and on. As a leader and co-leader of The Brecker Brothers (with Randy Brecker) and Directions in Music (with Herbie Hancock and Roy Hargrove), Michael has received 11 Grammy Awards, more than any saxophonist, ever. For further information, go to
I strongly encourage whoever reads this to get tested as I was many years ago. I haven't been a match for anyone so far --hopefully I will at some point -- but you may well be.

It is important to realize that the greatest chance of finding a match comes from others of similar genetic background. Every person (of Eastern European Jewish descent in this case) who gets tested increases the pool of potential matches for all people with similar genetic backgrounds who may need a transplant. To those from other genetic backgrounds, even if you won't be a match for Michael, you may well be for someone else. Here's a link to Ezer Mizion's info page about the importance of the registry. Take a few minutes to read about this and please get tested!