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Gift of Life Marrow Registry

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Cancer, Diseases of Specific Organs, Health, Named Trusts, Organ & Tissue Banks, Philanthropy

Mission: Gift of Life cures blood cancer through marrow donation by striving to find a match for every patient in need, whenever they need one.

Results: Up to the minute vital statistics on Gift of Life's accomplishments can be found here: http://www.giftoflife.org/Pages/Facts-and-Figures.aspx .

Target demographics: Patients of All Ages, Recruiting donors age 18-45

Geographic areas served: Throughout the United States

Programs: Registration drives are conducted to tissue type volunteer bone marrow donors and enroll them into the public registry. This is performed as a community service without charge to the donors. Gift of Life serves as a liaison between the donor, collection center and transplant center, providing case management services including all logistics involved in donor confirmatory testing, workup, harvest and follow-up.

Community Stories

117 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

3 Sandy S.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

There is no greater charity in the world than Gift Of Life. I would not be leaving this review if not for these wonderful people and the generosity of my donor. There are no limits in their search for donors to save the lives of the young or old. Please help support this amazing organization whether financially or by volunteering....Save a life !!!!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I volunteered for them approx. 5 years ago when they ran a drive for a little girl with cancer. The staff were very passionate about what they were doing. In fact i would feel comfortable saying that the way they interacted with the family, you would think they were related. It really made me feel good about what i was doing. I really felt that i was making a difference.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am the recipient of a bone marrow transplant and my donor came from Gift of Life! I am now an 18 year leukemia survivor post-transplant. Without Gift of Life, I wouldn't be alive today. THANK YOU!

1 June G.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Back in 1992 I volunteered for Jay to find his bone marrow donor in an office in NJ. I was bringing along our newborn daughter for 4 months! Now today she and my husband & I are all in the registry! We thought that Once Jay found his match, he could get on with his life as it was...BUT NO!!! He promised he would continue to serve the Gift Of Life in search of Bone Marrow donors, like Becky who saved his life! He never stops! He is a HERO and so is the Gift Of Life who's work saves lives everyday! In 2011, our youngest child raised money through a Donor Circle to benefit GOL for her Bat Mitzvah!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A truly wonderful organization, that does truly wonderful things!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is the most marvelous thing anyone can ever contribute to save someone else's life...I am going to look into getting this kit & do my part in contributing..I have a list of things i would like to do...This is truly beautiful, easy, & it will save a life. I know how I would feel if someone would do this for me..I had even thought of someday donating an organ to help someone...Think how rewarding knowing u did something kind like this for another human being in great need..
.

2 Jay F.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Gift of Life saved my life by finding a bone marrow donor for me. I have also witnessed Gift of Life touch the lives of hundreds and hundreds of other patients. It is my honor and priviledge to give back in any way I can.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

This is from a speech I gave in March 2009: I joined the Gift of Life family in December 2001. It was quite a busy time in my life; I had just found out I was pregnant with twin! And I had a 2 year old toddler. After mailing in my cheek swab the whole event went to the back burner. I was busy with my twin newborn baby boys and my daughter. In between all the bottles and diaper changes I received a phone call from a woman, Mrs. Erhman, introducing herself as a volunteer from Gift of Life Bone Marrow Registry. After listening to her tell me the news that I was an initial match to a patient needing a bone marrow transplant or a stem cell donation I was intrigued and curious to know more about how I could have been chosen to save someone’s life. Such a unique opportunity and I was the special one chosen! I was such a regular mom cooking mac and cheese, buying milk at the grocery store, taking my kids to play at the park,etc. What made me so special to have this chance to do the most wonderful mitzvah in the world? After learning more about the donation process I realized that it had nothing to do with what I did on a day to day basis but what G-d had given me in my body. My blood and stem cells were the miraculous match to help save this person’s life. It made it even clearer to me that G-d really is totally in charge of the world we live in. I didn’t go out and buy the lottery ticket from my corner store. The lottery found me! I donated my peripheral blood stem cells in May 2003 at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Without the help of my mom and husband it would not have been possible. My husband supported and encouraged me and helped in every which way to help make my donation a possibility. It was the most amazing experience of my life (besides of course giving birth to my 3 children). It was with heartfelt prayers that my stem cells flew to Israel. One year later, May 2004, I met my recipient at the Annual Gift of Life dinner in New York City. That day my children, myself and my husband all gained a new Bubby (grandmother), Bubby Chaia AY”H. It was wonderful to share our lives and know that I was able to give her children and grandchildren their grandmother back. It was with a shock then that July 2004 I received a phone call from Gift of Life. My Bubby Chaia needed my stem cells again. Without a moments hesitation I said “just tell me where and when and I will be there.” So August 2004 my husband and I got to spend the day at Weil Corneil – Presbyterian Hospital for my second stem cell donation. We prayed that my stem cells would be the miracle cure that Bubby Chaia AY”H needed. It was with a saddened heart and tears in my eyes that I found out that Bubby Chaia AY”H passed away Rosh Hashana/September 2005. The prayer we say “Who by fire, who by sickness” took on new meaning that year. I made a vow to myself – my new year’s resolution. I will do everything I can to help the Gift of Life family. It is now 7 years after my first donation and Gift of Life has become my immediate family. I may be a busy mom who works as an office manager and then goes home to change hats into cook, homework tutor, laundry mat, carpool driver, etc but Gift of Life is still just as important to me. My children have heard me tell my experience over and over again at Gift of Life information seminars or just to relatives and friends. By having them hear it they know how important it is to try to help save a life. By showing them by example the see it as well as hear it. Every other month my husband and I donate blood to a child with cancer. Our children talk about how they will go into the Gift of Life registry when they are older; donate blood when they are 10 (because they will be big and strong at that age  - we keep reminding them they have to wait until 17). My daughter has been so influenced that she has grown her hair to donate to a child with cancer who needs a wig. By making Gift of Life a family event we make it part of our daily lives. And just like we all have time to breathe and eat we have time for Gift of Life.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Gift of life is an amazing organization that made helping someone else amazingly easy. They were there every step of the way during the stem cell donation process, and constantly checked in with me to see how I was doing and see what they could do. I really felt personally cared for from start to finish with this process.

1 dberger1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

MISSION: Gift of Life facilitates bone marrow transplants for patients around the world by increasing the representation of donors of Jewish ethnic ancestry in the international registry. SERVICES: Recruitment Development Community recruitment campaigns are undertaken to register volunteers within the network. Tissue type is inherited, and the worldwide donor pool is not representative of all ethnic and racial groups. The Foundation’s recruitment strategy focuses on genetic diversity, specifically to increase overall Jewish ethnic representation within the international donor pool. Patient Advocacy Counsel patients and their families about the intricacies of the donor search process, including strategies for extended family studies and international unrelated donor searches. The goal is to ensure that each patient has complete access to all sources of stem cells worldwide. Public Education The Foundation attempts to increase public awareness of the need for unrelated marrow and blood stem cell donors through a variety of media campaigns and published materials. Transplant Coordination The Foundation manages a registry of volunteers willing to participate as stem cell donors should they be matched with patients needing transplants. The database is made available to transplant centers in the United States and abroad, as well as the search coordinating units of other domestic and foreign registries. The Foundation processes patient search requests, orders additional testing of potentially matched donors, and facilitates the ultimate collection and delivery of donor grafts to the transplant centers. Patient Assistance The Foundation endorses a long-standing pro bono policy of providing testing services without charge to patients who lack sufficient medical insurance coverage or personal financial resources. The Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation was established in 1991 as a donor recruitment organization to help save the life of New Jersey leukemia patient Jay Feinberg. Between 1991-95, the organization launched an ambitious grassroots campaign to recruit donors of Eastern-European Jewish ethnicity throughout North America and abroad. Over the course of four years, 60,000 donors registered with the National Marrow Donor Program in the United States, as well as other national registries in Canada, Israel and many other countries through Gift of Life's campaign. In 1995, the very last donor tested turned out to be Jay's match, and he was transplanted in Seattle. Although it started as a grassroots effort to save one life, the campaign facilitated transplants for hundreds of other patients also in need of donors. Gift of Life's mission did not end with Jay's successful transplant. The organization is as vibrant and dynamic today as the day it was founded. Today, Gift of Life manages a registry of over 120,000 bone marrow donors and a bank of over 800 umbilical cord blood units. Since 1991, Gift of Life has facilitated transplants for over 1,500 patients in need, over 400 of them from 2002-2007 alone. During that same time period, Gift of Life made 4,400 matches and processed 18,100 searches for patients worldwide. One in 1,000 of the donors in Gift of Life's registry are called to donate their marrow or blood stem cells each year, a statistic that exceeds by twofold the international average. Gift of Life is an associate donor registry of the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) and a participating member of the worldwide registry Bone Marrow Donors Worldwide. In addition to its accreditation from the NMDP for its Marrow Donor Registry, Gift of Life's Cord Blood Program at UMass is accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB). Gift of Life also holds state tissue banking licenses required for its activities. Gift of Life has been a leader in the world of donor registries. It was the first to: utilize bloodless (buccal swab) testing routinely at donor recruitment drives; launch an online registration system for donors to join the registry; establish a Jewish umbilical cord blood bank; establish a donor registry dedicated to recruitment in the Jewish community; develop a secure online system that made it possible for transplant centers and international registries to search and request donors real-time for their patients; fully type donors on a routine basis; become a domestic associate donor registry of the National Marrow Donor Program; establish formal recruitment partnerships with Jewish campus groups, making the recruitment priority to enroll younger donors who will remain in the registry longer, facilitating more transplants over time. Many other registries and recruitment groups have followed Gift of Life's lead by adopting its ideas and initiatives, and many have come to Gift of Life in order to seek advise, train with its leadership and take Gift of Life's strategies home with them to implement in their own communities around the world. Gift of Life is proud to share its expertise with worldwide registries for the benefit of patients everywhere. Gift of Life has been publicly recognized for its achievements and work helping the Jewish community. Most notably, Gift of Life's founder, Jay Feinberg, is the inaugural recipient of the Charles Bronfman Prize and the National Marrow Donor Program's Allison Atlas Award. Jay is also the recipient of the Hadassah International World Citizenship Award. Most recently, Jay received an Honorary Doctorate from Yeshiva University with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. My wife and I, along with our children are Advocates, Volunteers, Ambassadors, Recruiters and Swabbers for The Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation. We have tested over 20,000 people and thereby found matches for several hundred patients and the number will grow every day. It is our life's mission and hope that we have enough in the registry to find a match for anyone that may need it.