Gift of Life at work

July 24, 2012 by J-Wire Staff
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Three men linked to each other through the Gift of Life donor program have met Australian program organiser Shula Endrey-Walder in New York.

RIchard, Avi and Eli

Avi, who lives in Rivdersdale NY, had a special opportunity to donate stem cells in 2008 to Ken [not pictured]. The two met and the experience of donating and meeting his recipient inspired Avi to become an active supporter of Gift of Life.

Life took a sudden and unexpected turn several years later when Avi himself was diagnosed with Leukemia and needed an unrelated transplant. Indeed a match was found for him on the Gift of Life register, a young man who joined the registry in Israel and now  lives  in Washington Heights New York, called Eli. Avi’s transplant occurred at Cornell Medical Centre in New York but the treatment was not working well, the doctors suggesting that a second transplant should take place. Of course the likelihood of that happening was rare, nonetheless, a second donor was found in Richard.

Richard, 24 from Brooklyn, joined the Gift of Life registry at a drive to find a match for 6 year old Leukaemia patient, Stella. The young Leukaemia patient passed away before a match was found for her and last year Richard received the call to say that he had been found matching to Avi.

The Founder of Gift of Life Australia, Shula Endrey-Walder OAM has just come back from New York, having met Avi and his two donors Richard and Eli. Avi told her that as a donor he felt exhilarated and was thrilled to have the opportunity to help save a life, and as a recipient, he viewed his “donors as the most heroic people ever to walk the planet”. He was thrilled to be meeting his donors and was hoping that, much like his relationship with his recipient, Ken, that his two donors would establish a great friendship with him.

Endrey-Walder told J-Wire: “We have a drive on in Melbourne on July 31 to get more volunteers to test. It’s a special experience to see the Gift of Life working at such a personal level.”



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