Last week at the Maslulim Youth Center in Ohr Akiva, a stem cell donor recruitment drive was held to find a match for a leukemia patient from Ohr Akiva
by: Ariel Malkah
At the Asaf Harofeh and Tel Hashomer Hospitals, Alexander was told that a bone marrow transplant was his only chance for life, but no matching donor was found in any registry anywhere in the world.
Rallying to Alexander’s assistance was Ezer Mizion, which operates the world’s fourth largest Bone Marrow Donor Registry, who teamed up with local municipal organizations in Ohr Akiva: the Maslulim Youth Center, the Keshev organization, and the city’s Community Center. Together, they launched a drive to collect saliva samples from local residents of the Mountain Jews ethnic group, in order to find potential bone marrow donors who could save Alexander and other patients from their community. More than fifty samples were collected during the drive at the Youth Center.
Simchah Yosefov, mayor of Ohr Akiva, also came to the Youth Center in order to encourage residents to donate to the Registry. “I call upon anyone who meets the donation conditions to come to Ezer Mizion and help enrich the number of potential donors in the International Registry. This is a very important cause. As it says in the Talmud, ‘Whoever saves one Jew, it is if he saved an entire world,'” he said.
Tami Shmuel, coordinator of Community Responsibility at the Maslulim Center, said this week: “The director of the Youth Center asked me to coordinate with Ezer Mizion’s initiative and promote the project. We at the Youth Center see great importance in everything that relates to involvement in the community and to mutual assistance. In this specific case, the Registry has more than 670,000 potential donors, and only 2,000 of them are members of the Mountain Jews community. It is very difficult to reach them. We turned to the young people and residents in order to explain the importance of joining the registry and how simple the transplant procedure is, should they be found to be a matching donor.” She added, “Thank you to all those who came, listened, and helped. I am very hopeful that a suitable donor will be found.”
Pavel Yalzirov, chairman of the Keshev organization, commented: “A drive like this is the true test of a person’s contribution and how much importance he accords the value of human life. We, in the framework of the organization’s activities will always be willing to give a hand in cooperation with any group for the cause of saving human life, should it be necessary (and we hope it will not!).I want to thank everyone and wish Alexander Bakshayev a quick recovery and a long, healthy life.”