It wasn’t easy. Acceptance never is. My children would grow up, marry. There would be grandchildren… And I wouldn’t be there. A small grandchild would have a part in the school Chanukah play. “Invite your grandmother, too,” her teacher would say. My little granddaughter’s face would cloud up,” She’s in heaven. She can’t come.”
So many tears. So many prayers whispered into my pillow. A bone marrow transplant could save my life but my family had all been tested and there was no match to be found. And so I tried to accept. My life would soon be over.
All that changed when a young man – only a boy really – entered my life.
My name is Shulamit and I am 51 years old. I have 5 children. I’ve survived breast cancer twice. I thought I had paid my dues with medical issues for a lifetime but it seems that I was wrong. In 2015, I was diagnosed with leukemia. My doctors didn’t think I could survive chemo a third time and felt that only a bone marrow transplant could save my life. That would be wonderful except that a bone marrow transplant requires a third party – a matching donor – and, in my case, there was none.
I thought it was a long shot when they suggested trying Ezer Mizion. Even though I was told it was the largest Jewish registry in the world, still, if family members were not a match, how could a stranger be? Ezer Mizion is known for its miracles and Barak was one of them. He had just registered with Ezer Mizion six months ago when he joined the IDF. If he had been only half a year younger, it would not be me that would be writing these lines.
Barak didn’t hesitate and was ready to do whatever is needed in order to save my life but his mother was nervous. She had heard about bone marrow transplants and was understandably anxious about her son undergoing surgery. She calmed down when she realized that surgery is a rarity and most transplants are done via stem cells which are harvested from the donor much like a blood donation.
For legal reasons, the procedure is done anonymously. I couldn’t wait to meet this mysterious angel. The meeting finally took place at the Registry and was extremely emotional. That goes without saying. How could meeting the one who saved your life be anything but emotional! I couldn’t believe how young he was! I told him that I consider him another son! I stood there and just stared. Because of this young man, a boy not yet out of his teens, I would be there as my children and grandchildren were growing up.
Thank you, Barak and thank you, Ezer Mizion!