Gift of Life launches new mobile unit

August 24, 2009 by Henry Benjamin
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Hope for those needing life-saving stem cell or bone marrow transplants world-wide took a step forward yesterday as the Gift for Life Organisation launched its first mobile unit.

Shula Endrey-Walder with Malcolm Turnbull

Shula Endrey-Walder with Malcolm Turnbull

Organiser Shula Endrey-Walder told over 100 people at Sydney’s Wolper Hospital that more than 7000 people from various ethnic groups including Jews, Maoris, Chinese, Sri Lankans, Indians and Indigenous Australians had been tested since the organisation was formed.

The results are posted on the Australian Bone Marrow Registry and are shared with similar registries around the world.

Guest speaker Malcolm Turnbull, Head of the Opposition and local member, watched as over 20 people joined the registry and  as 45 donated blood to a Red Cross unit.

Also present was Leslee Sutton whose donation of stem cells have saved a life recently. The recipient’s family could not produce a match but the registry was able to do so.

Endrey-Walder told J-Wire: “If, after a year, a recipient is willing to let the donor know their identity we are more than happy to bring the two parties together.”

Endrey Walder with Leslie Sutton whose stem cells saved a life

Endrey Walder with Leslee Sutton whose stem cells saved a life

She told J-Wire the story of Michael Faust, a 29-year-old Sydney man who was suffering from leukaemia four years ago and who could not find a life-saving stem cell match from within his family. She said: “The Registry located Michael Goldfein in San Francisco. It was his grandmother’s yahrzeit and he decided to donate stem cells rather than travel to New York to join his family for the Yarhzeit. His grandmother had died from leukaemia. The stem cells were a perfect match for Michael and they were transfused. Michael Faust has since travelled to New York to meet the Michael who saved his life. The meeting was in front of 800 people many of whom were doctors…there was not a dry eye in the room.”

The mobile unit is expected to travel around Australia…carrying with it the hope that it will produce for many the Gift of Life.

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