Wednesday, August 3, 2016

36 Lives Saved!




The Mayanot Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem has been partnering with Gift of Life bone marrow registry for the past 10 years to save 36 lives and counting.

Gift of Life works to cure blood cancer through bone marrow and blood stem cell donation.  As part of an initiative with Taglit-Birthright Israel to expand the registry and give young adults, coming to Israel, an opportunity to join and potentially save a life, the expansion was tremendous and the Mayanot Institute of Jewish studies jumped on the bandwagon, not only offering this to Taglit-Birthright Israel participants but to our long and short term learning program students, as well.

According to Israel Recruitment Coordinator Halana Rosenfield, "Mayanot has been a huge supporter of Gift of Life and of the families that we help". Thus far they have tested over 9128 participants, finding 230 matches and completing 36 lifesaving transplants to date. Donors remain on the registry until their 61st birthday meaning, this number just keeps rising.



The director of the Mayanot Yeshivah learning program, Rabbi Chaim Moss, in partnership with Rabbi Mendy Derenע"ה , made this affiliation with Gift of Life possible. 

Rabbi Shlomo Gestetner, director of the Mayanot Institute of Jewish Studies remarked, “We educate our students in the importance of spreading light and doing acts of kindness and this kind of chesed is the greatest form of giving.” 

Danny Sack, director of the Mayanot Taglit-Birthright division, has been a driving force, pulling this all together over the years and continuing to make this opportunity a part of the Israel program. 



One of the donors in the registry, Taylor Crampton, was a Taglit Birthright Israel: Mayanot participant. Taylor joined the registry in 2009 when he was visiting Israel with Mayanot. When Taylor registered to be a donor, he never expected to be contacted, nearly 7 years later, working as a Pyrotechnic lead at Universal Studios. But when he received a call asking if he would be willing to donate his stem cells, he says that he was happy his decision to join the registry was able to do some good for someone else.

On February 8, 2016, Taylor donated bone marrow to a 44 year old female with Severe Aplastic Anemia, a disease in which the bone marrow does not make enough blood cells for the body.

Taylor remarked that he would absolutely donate again if he was asked to, without a second thought. He says, “if they tell me I’m a match for someone else then I would donate…to be able to give someone else a chance at life, there is really no question, if I could do that for another person or twenty more people I would.”

To people considering donating, “why wouldn’t you?” he says. It takes seconds and even if you don’t match with someone, at least you made the effort. To Taylor, “getting swabbed, in a hotel lobby in Jerusalem on a Mayanot trip, when I was 22 years old, went from something I did just because I had the opportunity, to one of my proudest moments.  Getting swabbed cost you nothing, but could be the difference between life and death for someone else.” As Rabbi Kasriel Shemtov, executive director of the Mayanot Institute of Jewish Studies, has been quoted saying many times, as related in the Talmud, “Whoever saves one life its is as if he has saved an entire world”.

Mayanot looks forward to continuing to partner with the Gift of Life Marrow Registry and hopes that the amazing results of Taylor and other donors like him, inspires more people to join the registry and potentially save a life! For more interest.

(Taylor Crampton, in 2009, on his Mayanot trip)

(A bone marrow drive taking place in Jerusalem)