Register to become a bone marrow donor

To the Editor:

In response to JTA’s piece about Marla Gilson’s struggle to keep her job with the Association of Jewish Aging Services as she fights leukemia, the last paragraph noted that "The last major, communitywide bone marrow registry drive among Washington-area Jews was in 1989, when a young Jewish woman, Allison Atlas, was diagnosed with leukemia."

In fact, Jewish organizations across the United States and Israel rallied in the summer of 2010 to find a donor match for Elissa Froman, the National Council of Jewish Women employee who recently wrote an Op-Ed for JTA on her reaction to Gilson’s story. JCCs in the Washington area and Rockville, Md. — and as far away as Boston, Chicago and Berkeley, Calif. — held donor drives to find a match for Elissa, as did synagogues across the country.

Drives hosted by Elissa’s former employer, the Religious Action Center and the Union for Reform Judaism, were attended by staffers of AIPAC, J Street, Hillel, Federation and other Jewish organizations throughout Washington and New York. A quick Google search for "bone marrow drive" and "Elissa" brings up dozens of events across the country and abroad, all committed to finding a match for the activist and future rabbi who, despite her personal struggles, has never faltered in her commitment to bettering the Jewish community.

Fortunately, a 21-year-old man in Israel has been identified as a donor match for Elissa, but others like her are still waiting for the news of a match of their own. I strongly urge JTA readers to register with the Gift of Life’s national bone marrow registry to find out whether they may be the match that will help save someone like Elissa or Ms. Gilson.

The Talmud teaches, "He who saves one life, it is as though he has saved the world." What better opportunity to put this teaching into practice?

Kate Bigam

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