The Gift of Life

The power of one.

Growing up, understanding death was hard. Getting older, it doesn’t get easier. There are so many questions:

Why?

What happens after?

Why so soon?

Who made that decision?
Unfortunately, I have lost many people who did not win their battle with cancer:

Breast cancer.

Pancreatic cancer.

Liver cancer.

Bowel cancer.

And a brain tumour all won.

How is that fair?

Now, I understand that we cannot control these horrific forms of cancer. Yes there are different medications that can help. But once it’s too late, it’s too late.

This is why I work with  Gift of Life. I want to make a difference. I want to help add people to the Bone Marrow Registry, so that there are more donors in the system giving us the opportunity to match and save a life of those suffering from blood cancer and blood diseases.

What does that mean?

Is there a cure?

This time I have the answer:

YES!
If a patient needs a stem cell or bone marrow transplant, you can potentially be their perfect match and donate your stem cells, giving them their opportunity at a second chance at life.

It is simple.

But then why is it so hard?

The hard part is finding a match. We need as many people as possible in the registry. More people. More possibilities. More matches. More lives saved.

People with cancer are LIVING! They are being given a second chance in life. Their world has been saved, because of one person. That power of one. That individual who swabbed and joined the Bone Marrow Registry.

I am one person.

With eight people, including my grandparents, mother and close friends that have had cancer.

Six lost their lives to the disease.

Two are in remission.

Six months. That’s the amount of time I have been working with Gift of Life saving lives.

As a registry we have saved over 3,200 people.

One person. One world. One powerful choice can save a life.

I’m lucky enough to meet with Birthright trips and Masa programs, from all over and tell them the inspiring true story of Jay Feinberg, the founder of Gift of Life. Jay almost died, but because of that same power of one message, he was given his second chance at life.

Dozens of friends ran donor drives to find him a match.

60,000 donors were added to the registry.

One person, the last person tested, was his perfect match.

I tell this story countless times to hundreds of people and I still get goosebumps when I explain how his match was found. How his life was saved, because of the power of one.

It sounds like a numbers game. But what I hear is this generation taking action, engaging with their community,and most importantly, taking the opportunity to save a life. I can still feel the tears of the times I lost my close friends and family members, but now I can express the joy of helping others get their second chance to live. Jay took tragedy and created possibility. I hear that voice too. I am that voice. In a room full of participants asking if they swabbed correctly. I know they are doing it right.

Power of One.

Second Chance at life.

 

About the Author
Minna Swindon is an olah hadasha from London, currently working with Gift of Life Israel. She is passionate about helping others.
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