Wednesday, February 06, 2013

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Get Tested, Save a Life

We received a request from a reader to share a letter about getting tested for marrow donation compatibility.  My daughter has been involved at signing people up at Birthright events, and I urge you to consider getting tested.  For minimal effort you could save a life…

From: Arlene and Ami Bar-Yosef

Our son, Guy Bar-Yosef, was diagnosed with an acute form of leukemia this past April.  He has undergone aggressive chemotherapy, and now the doctors are saying that there is hope for recovery only if he receives a bone marrow (=stem cell) transplant from a matching donor.

We are turning to everyone and anyone who may be able to help.  Healthy donors are accepted into international registries between the ages of 18-45.  Blood type does not matter.  Because of Guy’s genetic lineage, we are specifically looking for donors with mixed genetic backgrounds – Ami’s parents were of Moroccan and Lithuanian origin, and Arlene’s parents hailed from Latvia (Baronovich, Russia, and nearby).

In Israel the organization which does tissue typing and matching is “Ezer Mizion”, and in the USA it’s “Be The Match” or “Gift of Life”.  People in the USA can ask for a kit to do the test at home and mail it in.  All other developed countries have similar setups, and Israeli hospitals conduct worldwide searches.

The initial test is merely a saliva swab taken from inside the cheek.  It is painless and quick.  If the person is found to be a tissue match, he/she will be asked to donate blood on a given day, at the hospital in Tel Aviv.  If the person is from abroad, the flight to Israel and all expenses will be paid.  It is similar to donating blood at Magen David Adom - no surgical procedure is involved.

Many of Guy's friends, colleagues and family members are coming forward to be tested, but they can't all afford to pay for the tests themselves.  So another way to assist is by a monetary donation, in any amount to "Ezer Mizion" in Israel.  It costs 250 NIS ($65) to process each test, and as they don't have the necessary budget, they seek donations to cover the costs.  

Ezer Mizion:  40 Kaplan St., Petach Tikva, Israel.  Tel:  03-9277772, via check,telephone, or on-line, (there's a place to name the person in whose honor the donation is being made).

The website is: https://www.ezermizion.org/Donate   (Donations are tax deductible and receipts will be issued). 

Anyone making a monetary donation, as well as those who go to Ezer Mizion to be tested should mention Guy Bar-Yosef’s name.

Time is of the essence. Anyone who has Facebook or other social network media, or who work or study in places where they can notify friends, colleagues, etc., is kindly asked to help spread the word.  We sincerely appreciate every and all effort made on Guy’s behalf.

Thanks so very much.

Arlene and Ami Bar-Yosef - arleneby@yahoo.com

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