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The Gift of Life 

11/10/2022 09:20:59 AM

Nov10

Guest Blogger: Adam Sadovsky

This week marks the annual Organ Donor Shabbat, a time to honor those who have given the gift of life to others with their own body. To celebrate those who have given this gift, Adam Sadovsky, CBI past president shares his experience with donating stem cells. Please consider participating in the Jewish value of P’kuach Nefesh, “preserving a life” by joining an organ donor or living donor registry.

So, this journey begins in 2014....One of our young congregants was a special guest speaker at Erev Shabbat services, presumably on Donor Shabbat (if memory serves me correctly...which is a big presumption).  He spoke about the importance of donating, specifically a living donation, where you get the opportunity to donate to someone in need while you're still alive. I was already a registered organ donor, but that seemed so anti-climactic since I would be dead when that need arises.

The organizations Be The Match and Gift Of Life provide this particular registry.  It felt like a very Jewish thing to do, putting yourself in a position to help someone in this way.  The ask is so important because such a small percentage of people in need have a genetic match for bone marrow donation.  By having more people on the registry, it increases the chance that there will be a match for someone in need; it seemed simple enough. Most people will never get a call that they are a match for someone.  I decided to put my name on the registry, partly because I thought the cause was really great, and to be honest, most people don't get called up, so it seemed like a good way to help out a little bit without too much of a commitment. 

Fast forward 8 years, and I get a call from Gift of Life that I might be a potential match for a 77 year old gentleman with Acute Myeloid Leukemia.  Needless to say, a whole host of emotions stirred up.  I was a bit scared of what the experience would be, I was surprised because I had completely filed in the back of my mind that I was on the registry to begin with, I was intrigued on what it would take to donate, and I was excited that I might be able to actually help SAVE SOMEONE'S LIFE.  I was told that they usually only ask for marrow for children and that they would be asking for stem cells from me. 

I started the screening process with Gift of Life several months ago. This required some patience because it takes several months to make your way through the system.  I kept finding myself curious if I was going to be eligible and what it means to the man in need.  The longer it took, the more I wanted to do it, knowing that his disease must be progressing. As of this week, I've had my physical and yet another blood test, and it looks like they are going to be taking my donation on December 13th.  I'll start injections of Filgrastim for 5 days, which will aid my bones into producing more blood so they can take what they need. 

Now that it seems like it's getting real, I've looked into what it's going to be like.  From the research I've done, I'll feel pretty crappy and achy while I'm on the Filgrastim, but everyone says it's totally worth the unpleasantness for the opportunity to do this for someone.  I find it interesting that I'm so excited, and that I feel so grateful for the opportunity to help someone have the best shot of a life saving treatment.  They will be flying me out to Florida for a few days to do the whole thing.  I'll report back when I'm done. 

Consider joining the registry for the opportunity to help save a life. Check out https://bethematch.org/  and https://www.giftoflife.org/ to get on a registry and see if you can make a difference for another person.

Fri, April 19 2024 11 Nisan 5784