Isn’t every child supposed to have both an Abba and an Ima (father and mother)? Two year old Naomi and her baby brother almost didn’t. Now their mother stood there in tears of joy when she met Aryeh. “Because of you, my children have an Abba,” she cried over and over again.
Who is Aryeh? We’ll let Abba tell that story.
“I was a strong, young man with my whole life ahead of me. I was successful, ambitious and ready to take on the world. Nothing could stop me, so I thought. That was before I heard of those three little letters that could destroy the strongest of men: AML. I was diagnosed four years ago and my life fell apart. I couldn’t even leave the house without assistance. I felt helpless. Like a newborn infant. A successful day was being able to eat a portion of food and keep it down. My days centered around chemo treatments and blood levels. My future, that had looked so bright, now might not even be…at all. A bone marrow transplant was advised.
My doctor contacted Ezer Mizion, the largest Jewish registry worldwide, to see if there was a genetic match for me. I was one of the fortunate ones. They searched through a database that had over 850,000 registered and one was perfect for me.
But things began to look up. The blood levels began to look better. I was told I wouldn’t need the transplant after all. No one can imagine what I felt like. Like ropes that had been tying me to the walls were suddenly loosened. I was free! I could go on with life! I began studying for a B.A. in Machine Engineering, something I had always been interested in, and the world looked bright again. There would be a future. I would be part of my children’s lives. The sun shone!
Two months later, I was deep into my studies when the bomb fell. My count was up again. The bone marrow transplant would be necessary. Without it…without it…I would…
That’s when I met Aryeh. Not really. I met his bag of stem cells. The hospital had cancelled his first appointment when my count had been good but he dropped everything when he heard that I did need the transplant and made a second appointment.
International law does not allow us to meet for a year or two so the picture in my mind of this very special human being was that of a bag of stem cells. I’m healthy now. We met for the first time, appropriately at Ezer Mizion. “It’s you,” I whispered. “ You have a face, a voice…” and then we fell into each other’s arms, two grown men weeping with deep joy as my wife stood there, her face streaming with tears, crying over and over again, “Because of you, my children have an Abba!”