Giving The Gift Of Life

At its annual dinner Gift of Life brings bone marrow recipients to meet their donors for the first time. You know it’s going to be an emotional moment when you see tissue boxes on every table.

Lillian Baharestani, 27, wanted to be a donor. She was raised in Queens where her father taught her to always help others. So at Syracuse University she organized a drive for swabs for the Gift of Life registry. As it turned out, her own swab saved a life.

While working as director of community relations and development at Hillel at Stanford University, Lillian was called to donate bone marrow.

In 2007 in Cypress, Texas, one-year-old Daisy Sanchez was diagnosed with a bone disease.

Lillian’s swab was found to be a match. It enabled her to give the gift of life to Daisy in a bone marrow transplant last year.

Daisy, now four, met her donor for the first time at the Gift of Life 10th annual gala recently at the Grand Hyatt.

As Lillian picked Daisy up and hugged her tight, there wasn’t a tissue left in the box on my table.

Tim Boxer is editor of

About the Author
Tim Boxer is a former New York Post columnist, and is longtime columnist for the New York Jewish Week. He is also editor of, is the author of Jewish Celebrity Hall of Fame, interviews of Hollywood stars about their Jewish roots.