An Open Letter From A Son

To the kehillah,

Three years ago, I appealed to the community to help to try to find a bone marrow donor for my mother, Sharon Berger (Sora bas Zissel). During our urgent appeal, a donor joined the bone marrow registry and my mother underwent a transplant. It gave her three more years with us, during which she has been blessed with the birth of another grandchild and lots of nachas.

Now, sadly, we have found out that the leukemia has returned and the only cure is another transplant from an unrelated donor. So, we are appealing to you again to register as a bone marrow donor. There was a fantastic response from across the kehillah last time, and we very much hope for a similar response again.

In the past three years a new charity (DKMS) has come to the U.K. which registers people aged between 17 and 55 after a cheek swab. They join the same U.K. registry, linked with registries around the world including Israel and America. DKMS are happy to run registration sessions in Stamford Hill and elsewhere.

It would be amazing to be able to grow the register to help others in need of a matching donor, as well as finding a match for my mother. A match is most likely to come from within the Jewish community, from those of Ashkenazi heritage. This is an opportunity to save someone’s life. Many people of all backgrounds in the U.K. are unable to find a matching donor. The chance of being someone’s match in the next 10 years is only 4-5%.

To register with DKMS, please call 0209 747 5620. The organization can then send you a cheek swab kit to do at home.

If anyone would like to help to organize a central donor registration session, please contact me via Hamodia.

If you are already on a registry please ensure your details are up to date: if you can’t be found, you can’t be a lifesaver. If you can’t help personally, please pass this information on to others. Time is running out for my mother – maybe you could be the shaliach to help save her life!

With thanks in advance,

Jonni Berger