American Jewish stem cell donor guest at recipient’s chuppah

SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – An American Jewish man whose stem cells saved the life of an Australian Jew diagnosed with life-threatening leukemia was the guest of honor at the Australian’s wedding in Sydney.

Michael Striegold, 38, of Houston, Texas, was in the front row last week to witness the marriage of Michael Faust to Jackie Antico under the chuppah overlooking Sydney Harbor.

In 2004, Striegold was at a Jewish function in San Francisco when he decided to test for the Gift of Life registry, an organization dedicated to finding matches for Jews with life-threatening stem cell, bone marrow and transplants problems.

Faust, 33, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia at the age of 23.

“I was totally devastated that someone my age could be diagnosed with cancer,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald in an article published Sunday.

The pair now meet each year.

“For me, a stranger, to have a second family is overwhelming,” Striegold said.

“I now have another brother,” Faust responded.

The Gift of Life’s Shula Endrey-Walder told J-Wire, a local Jewish website, that there are four more Jews in desperate need of a transplant; Jews are much more likely to find a match within their own ethnic group.

Still, she said, it’s a long shot, noting, “The likelihood of finding a match in the Jewish community is 1 in 10,000.”

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