Monday, December 15, 2008

I Couldn't Save His Life... But You Can!

A while back, when a musician on the JM circuit was fighting leukemia, I did a number of posts about bone marrow donation through the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation.

I've urged everyone to get tested as potential donors, becuase the odds are highest, that a match will be found with someone from similar genetic background. So, each community is better off when more of its members are listed in the registry.

I'd like to take this opportunity to raise this issue again for two timely reasons. The first is that the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation is one of the victims of the Madoff scandal. The Jerusalem Post reports:
At least one nonprofit is calling out for help in the wake of Madoff's collapse: The Gift of Life Foundation, a Jewish bone marrow registry that relied heavily on Madoff as a benefactor, announced on its Web site Sunday that it would immediately need to raise $1.8 million to make up for recent losses.
The work this foundation does literally saves lives. They need donors, both financial and of bone marrow. Please support both of these needs.

The second reason I mention this now is because of a recent story that happened to me.

A few weeks ago, I got home to find a message from the National Bone Marrow Registry. I'd been identified as a potential match for a middle-aged leukemia patient. They asked if I was still willing to be a donor. When I told them I would, they sent me a test to take at home. The reason for the test was to confirm if I was a match.

I'd originally been tested in 1992, during the first drive aimed at the frum community. Since then, the test has changed from blood donation to a simple mouth swab. I believe they also can check do additional tissue typing at this time. So, I took the test and sent it back in. I was hoping that I'd be a match.

This past weekend, I received a letter informing me that I and the patient have some differences in tissue type, and the patient's doctor has decided do continue searching for a donor who matches the patient more closely. So, sadly, in this case I did not turn out to be a match. But that possibility only existed because I was tested as a potential donor. Please get tested. And, please support the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation You just might save a life.