BOCA RATON, Fla., Oct. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- When the parents of eighteen-month old Ezra approached the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation, they needed answers and direction. Most of all, they needed to hear what it would take to give their child a second chance at living a normal, healthy life. Having been diagnosed with a rare primary immune deficiency called Hyper IgM Syndrome, Ezra's immune system fails to produce antibodies due to a flawed X chromosome. Because boys carry only one X chromosome, unlike girls whose second X chromosome helps to protect against the disease, more boys than girls have Hyper IgM syndrome. Until recently, traditional treatment of the disease would be immunoglobulin replacement therapy for the rest of his life. However, due to the high rate of liver disease and malignancy, bone marrow transplantation is now recommended provided a perfect match can be found. Finding his miracle match might mean curing Ezra completely. The Gift of Life is now assisting the family in their search for Ezra's match, as well as for many other patients out there who are seeking a second chance at life.
Jay Feinberg, Gift of Life's Executive Director, and a fifteen-year transplant survivor himself, knows first-hand how important finding a match is to a patient in need. He remembers vividly how his own miracle match was the very last of 60,000 people tested over a four year period, and how his match was the very last name on the drive roster. Since then, Jay founded the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation and has made it his life's work to increase the number of donors in the registry, so that every patient in need will be able to find his or her own miracle match.
Today, Jay is among the top nominees for the Jewish Community Hero Award, which is sponsored by the Jewish Federations of North America. Winning this award would not only mean greater recognition about the Gift of Life organization, but would bring the importance of bone marrow and blood stem cell transplantation to the forefront of topics of conversation with people from all walks of life. In addition to acknowledgment, the winner will receive a $25,000 grant to continue his or her work that changes the world. For Gift of Life, that would mean that almost 500 new donors would be tested and entered into the registry. Any one of them could be the miracle match for Ezra or another of the many patients searching for their match.
Among the top international registries, Gift of Life has facilitated over 2,150 bone marrow, blood stem cell and umbilical cord blood transplants for children and adults suffering from life-threatening illnesses. Currently, its registry contains over 175,000 potential donors.
To have your voice heard in support of Gift of Life's mission and add your vote for Jay, simply go to http://bit.ly/voteforjay and click on the orange VOTE button.
For more information about how you can become involved with Gift of Life, or to make a tax-deductible contribution, visit our website at www.giftoflife.org or call 1-800-9MARROW.
SOURCE Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation