How Do You Jew An educational, informational, conversational blog and (someday) podcast about Judaism, Jewish practices, customs, and rituals, Israel, and whatever else we decide to talk about.

November 15, 2007

Surprise! You’re the guest of honor/keynote speaker tonight!

Filed under: education,Family,Good News,Health,life cycle,tikkun olam,UCSD — howdoyoujew @ 23:48

When we walked in to the UCSD Faculty Club tonight for the San Diego Blood Bank‘s Stem Cell/Bone Marrow Donor Appreciation Dinner, we were excited to be back at this moving event, this time without our daughter, who was with us last year at the tender age of 6 weeks. Little did I know that my name appeared on this evening’s program as the featured speaker, with Phyllis’s and my story the central donor-recipient story. The staff at the donor center had called me a couple of weeks ago to ask me to be their backup speaker because they were having some trouble getting someone, and I agreed, but they never called back, so I assumed they’d found someone else. Imagine my surprise when Maria ran up to me tonight and sprung this surprise on me! Well, never one to turn down a gig, I had a Heineken, wrote a few notes down, and took the mic when it was handed to me.

After it was all over, it took us about 45 minutes to get out of there for all the people coming up to commiserate and compliment me and share their own donor/recipient stories. Mine, as I said in my remarks, has TWO happy endings (Phyllis’s survival and then Hadarya’s birth), but not all bone marrow donation stories end so well. In some cases, the patients succumb despite a matching donor being found and a transplant being carried out, but in far too many cases, patients die for lack of a donor. This is where you come in. Open a phone book or a new tab in your browser (what, you don’t use a tabbed browser? OK, open a new window, then) and look up your local bone marrow/stem cell donor center (likely affiliated with your local blood bank). Call the center, and make an appointment to register with the National Marrow Donor Program. It’ll only cost you a small blood sample, but the difference you may make in someone’s life is immeasurable.

Also, you may get to correspond with a rock legend.

But that’s not the point. The point is you could save a life, and the person whose life you save may have undoubtedly has other people who care about and love him/her, which means you’ll have changed their lives too. The collateral benefits add up, which is why the Talmud teaches us that “One who saves a life, it’s as if he has saved the whole world.”

Do it. Do it now.

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