Upper West Side Toddler, Object Of Thousands’ Prayers, Succumbs To Illness


Ayelet Galena, the 2-year-old daughter of Manhattan residents Seth and Hindy Poupko Galena in whose sake a nationwide bone marrow drive was conducted following her diagnosis with a compromised immune system shortly after she was born, died on Jan. 31.

She had undergone a bone marrow transplant five months ago at Cincinnati’s Children’s Hospital.

Through the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation and through a Facebook page (it had more than 5,200 fans) established by her parents, Ayelet’s plight spurred widespread enrollment in the nationwide bone marrow registry, especially among members of the Jewish community. Both of her parents had been profiled in The Jewish Week’s annual 36 under 36 feature about young Jewish leaders. Poupko works at the Jewish Community Relations Council. Galena is a founder and editor of a Jewish humor site, Bangitout.

They asked for prayers and regularly posted updates about Ayelet’s condition, still sounding hopeful as of Monday, hours before she passed away.

“With unstoppable tears and broken hearts we regret to announce that last night around 5 AM, after hours of fighting and holding on, our precious Ayelet – the heart of our world, the light and strength for so many, could not fight any more,” the Galenas stated on the website where they had kept friends and strangers updated. “She is gone.”

“You likes, your prayers, your comments, your emails, your texts, your challahs. All these, every single one is read/felt/tasted by us,” they wrote a week before Ayelet’s death. “We read everything, and they are the single reason we are still standing.”