by Mati Cyber and Yaron Kellner
It was a very moving encounter: There, on the line-up square of the Chatzerim Military Base stood a young officer who just got his Air Force wings. Up in the audience sat the man whose life was saved, thanks to a bone marrow donation he received from the young pilot.
A few years ago, when Lieutenant N. enlisted in the army, he joined Ezer Mizion’s International Bone Marrow Donor Registry as part of his induction into the IDF. Only one of hundreds who signed up that week, he assumed nothing would ever come of it and promptly forgot about it. But he was wrong. About a year and a half ago, he was found to be a compatible donor for Shmuel Harari, a 63-year-old resident of Arad, whose last chance to survive was a bone marrow transplant. The transplant was successful and now Harari longed to meet his donor.
The young Lieutenant was also anxious to meet the person whose life he had saved and so plans were made to meet at the “Wings Parade” ceremony held at the conclusion of the pilot course. Emotions already high due to the event, they reached even further heights as the two embraced sharing their joy with Lieutenant N’s family and fellow pilots. Harari’s daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren had accompanied the jubilant grandfather. “Because of you, I’ll be able to watch these children grow up,” he told Lieutenant N.
“I have no words to describe this encounter with the person who saved my life. The tears that choked me up at the time of the meeting made it hard for me to say everything that was in my heart,” Harari said.
Dr. Bracha Zisser, Director of Ezer Mizion’s International Bone Marrow Donor Registry, said: “Every encounter of donor and recipient is a thrilling event. But today, on the line-up square, we watched a graduate student receive his wings enabling him to fly as a member of the IDF and help save lives. In our hearts, we presented him with a virtual second set of wings because of the heights he has already flown in selflessly donating his marrow to save the life of Shmuel Harari. My friends at Ezer Mizion and I were overcome by a storm of emotion beyond description. Praised is the nation that counts people like N. as its members.”
Said Commander-in-Chief Benny Gantz. “In the future, we will need to respond to those who seek our harm, from near and far. You will be in the pilot’s cabin and the entire nation will rely on you. The sensitivity you have displayed in donating your marrow to save a life is the same sensitivity you will need as a pilot. Lieutenant N., we salute you. You have shown us that the nation of Israel can depend on you. ”