(NAPSI)—Being a hero and helping repair the world may be easier than many people realize. How? Become a blood stem cell or marrow donor, volunteer or a supporter.
Every three minutes, someone in the United States is diagnosed with a blood cancer such as leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society estimates that 186,400 people will experience this frightening news just this year.
While a bone marrow or blood stem cell transplant can serve as a cure for leukemia and other blood cancers, only 30 percent of patients have a matching donor in their families. The remaining 70 percent must hope that a compatible stranger can be found through the global registry.
For the past 30 years, one organization has been singularly passionate about engaging the public to get everyone involved in curing blood cancer. Gift of Life Marrow Registry, a nonprofit based in Boca Raton, Florida, works globally to find matching bone marrow and blood stem cell donors for patients battling nearly 100 diseases, including blood cancer, immune disorders and sickle cell.
One Man’s Story
The best chance of finding a matching donor is with people who share the same ethnicity and race—and Gift of Life was founded due to a lack of Jewish donors in the national registry when Jay Feinberg was 22 years old and unable find a match to cure his leukemia.
Determined to save his life, Feinberg’s family and friends set on a 4-year grassroots donor recruitment campaign, resulting in the enrollment of more than 60,000 new donors in the worldwide bone marrow registry. Feinberg eventually found his lifesaving match, and his diagnosis started the butterfly effect that became Gift of Life.
Feinberg has never taken for granted the gift that his bone marrow donor gave to him, and he has turned a moment of personal crisis into a lifetime of achievement for the greater good and now, you can be part of it.
“Every day I live is a day I am blessed to pay it forward,” said Feinberg. “Everyone has the power to spread light by joining the registry and giving the most precious gifts of all—hope and health.”
Gift of Life
Under Feinberg’s leadership as the Founder and CEO, Gift of Life has grown into a multi-faceted organization that operates a global marrow and blood stem cell donor registry, donor collection center, cellular therapy laboratory and a soon-to-launch biotech entity. To date, the organization has a membership of nearly 400,000 individuals who have volunteered to save a life, and it has also facilitated more than 4,000 transplants.
What That Means To The Jews
Through many years of recruiting and partnerships with Jewish communities and organizations, Gift of Life has radically increased the rates of survival for patients of Jewish descent (from 5 to approximately 80 percent), and is working to do the same for other ethnicities and races.
What You Can Do
While it’s great to help the organization at anytime, this Hanukkah can be a particularly good time. You can join Gift of Life’s Swab Sameach campaign that is dedicated to uniting the Jewish community with the common goal of saving lives. During this holiday of miracles, you and others in the Jewish community can become someone’s life-saving miracle.
Joining the registry is simple and can be done with a quick and painless cheek swab and the completion of a form to give consent. If you’re between 18 and 35 years old and in general good health, visit www.giftoflife.org/swabsameach to get your free kit.
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