Jewish tradition teaches us that to save one person’s life is as if we have saved the entire world. This is something which has always motivated me, and has shaped my life at a few points in a few key ways.
One such way was learning about the organization “Gift of Life” when I was in graduate school.
As a very active Hillel-ite I had the opportunity to attend a few conferences during graduate school. At one of these conferences I had the pleasure of hearing transplant donors and recipients speak about their experience with Gift of Life, and was profoundly moved. I decided that I would register as a donor with them and do whatever I could to help spread the message. Shortly thereafter, some of peers who had been similarly moved hosted a drive on campus to get people to join the regstry. Sadly, I was unable to participate at that time due to health problems – but I volunteered, made a donation, and pledged to join the registry as soon as I was able. Last spring I was finally able to join the bone marrow registry through Gift of Life and I couldn’t imagine a more fulfilling use of 5 minutes of my day.
I also had the opportunity to an internship with bone marrow and stem cell transplant recipients. I got to see the hardships faced by the difficulty of finding a match and the relief at finally being able to go through the process. That renewal is like no other.
Over the years when my friends have asked for causes to donate to for various reasons, Gift of Life has often been the first one that comes to mind. I am also currently looking into hosting drives, bringing walks, and generally being an ambassador for this phenomenal organization which embodies so much of what Judaism is about at the core – saving the future of the Jewish people in any way possible.
Jay Fineberg, the creator of Gift ofLife (and a transplant recipient himself) is currently one of the leaders in the public voting portion of the Jewish Community Heroes Award. I have been voting for him daily, and encourage you to at least vote once. That may be the easiest thing you ever do to help save someone’s life. If Jay wins the $25,000 grand prize, it will pay for the testing and entry of over 450 people into the bone marrow donor data base.
If you are 18-60, in general good health, and not already a registered bone marrow donor (with any organization) click here to see if you may be able to register through Gift of Life. With more than 6000 people waiting for their match, you can make a difference.