Give the Gift of Life!
It has been a busy few months since receiving the Jewish Community Hero Award, and it started at the airport in New Orleans returning home from the General Assembly!
Fewer than two hours after receiving the Award, while sitting at the gate waiting for my flight, a gentleman engaged me in conversation. "Aren’t you Jay Feinberg who just won the Award at the GA?” His name was Glenn Drew, the Executive Director of the American Hebrew Academy in Greensboro, North Carolina. That chance meeting led to a weekend visit and speaking engagement at the Academy.
I am honored to be the 2010 Jewish Community Hero, but as I said when I was selected as the recipient, in my world it is the bone marrow donors who are the true heroes.
It was a wonderful opportunity to share Gift of Life’s mission with the students over Shabbat. While I was there, I learned that a senior — the head of the student body — was diagnosed with leukemia and himself in need of a donor for a bone marrow transplant. That led the students to make a donation from their student-run Four Corners Tzedakah Fund, and plans are underway for a student-organized donor drive — all thanks to the Jewish Community Hero Award.
Over the past few months, we have been engaged in several patient-focused drives in the Jewish Community, among them drives for two year old Ezra and one year old Ayelet — both of whom need donors for bone marrow transplants. You can help save their lives by ordering a test kit, and swabbing your cheek. Please use the sponsorship code "HERO2011", and if you’d like to make a donation to keep the ball rolling, we’d certainly appreciate it. [Good news! UPDATE: On Aug 30 2011, Ayelet Galena received a bone marrow transplant at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital.]
When Andy Neusner asked me to write this blog entry, he also asked for an update on the grant — the $25,000 given to Gift of Life to advance its mission. He said I should write about the good the grant money facilitated, but that it wasn’t necessary to be specific since it was likely used in conjunction with other funds raised in 2010.
Well, the fact is that we can be specific about the good the funds made possible because everything we do is measurable. The grant money funded the testing of 463 bone marrow donors on our wait list. These donors became part of a pool called a "Donor Circle" that we named in honor of the Jewish Community Hero Award.
So far, the grant has facilitated nine matches for patients in need, and has led to three transplants to date! I encourage people to visit the donor circle and subscribe for real time email alerts whenever matches are found. And if you aren’t already in the registry, what better time than now to GO SWAB YOURSELF!
I am honored to be the 2010 Jewish Community Hero, but as I said when I was selected as the recipient, in my world it is the bone marrow donors who are the true heroes. I consider myself a conduit to bring bone marrow donors and transplant recipients together — making the match of a lifetime is the greatest gift to me, and one I will cherish always.
Thank you to the Jewish Federations of North America for the opportunity to grow this vital resource for the Jewish people and for people everywhere in need of life-saving transplants. Don’t forget to show your support for patients like Ezra and Ayelet by joining the other nearly 120,000 people who "like" Gift of Life on Facebook. Swab your cheek, and help save a life!
— Jay Feinberg
Jay Feinberg is the 2010 Jewish Community Hero of the Year. He started the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation with a simple vision for facilitating bone marrow transplants: A match. Anytime. Anywhere. The foundation is now of the largest international bone marrow registries and is responsible for more than 2,100 bone marrow transplants worldwide.blog comments powered by Disqus