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Medical & HealthEzer Mizion - Israel's Bone Marrow Registry

Ezer Mizion – Israel’s Bone Marrow Registry

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Last Updated on December 6, 2021

Ezer Mizion – The bone marrow registry

You can help save a life!

ezer mizion

Established in 1979, Ezer Mizion is Israel’s largest non-profit organization providing medical and social support services. It provides a diverse range of services to positively impact the lives of the sick, disabled, elderly, and underprivileged within the State of Israel including cancer support services, medical referrals, medical equipment loan, mental health services, food distribution, support and empowerment for children with special needs, and the elderly and their families/caregivers. What originally got started as a small project today serves more than 670,000 individuals annually across Israel.

Ezer Mizion was founded by Chananya Chollak who was inspired from his own personal family experience. In addition to his own family’s struggles, he took notice of the toll that illnesses were having both emotionally and financially on other Jewish families and it was that empathy upon which the foundation of Ezer Mizion was established.

In 1996, Moshe Schayek, a young man desperate for a bone marrow transplant, turned to Ezer Mizion for assistance in finding a matching donor. Ezer Mizion’s Cancer Support Division helped his family coordinate a bone marrow drive, but no match was found among the 5,000 people who participated in the drive. Sadly, the young man died, but he left a legacy that has enabled dozens of other sick Jews to live. This led to the establishment of Ezer Mizion’s International Bone Marrow Donor Registry.

In 1998, Ezer Mizion expanded its services to include a bone marrow registry, which currently includes 885,264 active members, more than half of whom joined as Israel Defense Forces (IDF) recruits. A key differentiator for Ezer Mizion is its exclusive partnership with the IDF which was initiated and facilitated by Moti and Dr. Bracha Zisser in 2005.

Since its inception, Dr. Zisser has served as the Director of Ezer Mizion’s bone marrow registry and cancer support services. Through this partnership, IDF allows Ezer Mizion to obtain swab samples from new inductees for inclusion in the bone marrow registry.

The specific advantage of having IDF recruits as registry members is the registry expansion at each recruitment cycle which constantly brings new healthy, young potential donors from a broad ethnic spectrum.

Young people are ideal donor candidates as they can remain in the registry for a long time and are preferred by medical teams for their higher success rate when it comes to transplants. To date, nearly 12,000 complete donor-patient matches have been made and nearly 3,000 transplants have been facilitated directly through the Ezer Mizion bone marrow registry.

Today, the registry has evolved to become the organization’s major global initiative and the largest Jewish Bone Marrow Registry in the world. Each year, the registry handles thousands of search requests from dozens of transplant centers based around 48 countries.

In connection with all the impactful accomplishments of the organization, Ezer Mizion has been invited as a highlighted guest at this year’s American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) Annual Policy Conference in Washington, D.C. Here, the organization unveiled its latest campaign, #SharedLife, with which it aims to spread the word about the importance of the Jewish bone marrow registry and help patients from communities worldwide.

The idea of #SharedLife can only be achieved through the coordination of three critical partners: the generous stem cell donors, the benevolent financial supporters, that provide the necessary funding for testings and tissue typing, and Ezer Mizion’s team.

To learn more, get involved, or donate, please visit: sharedlife.ezermizion.org

Did you know?

Bone marrow contains stem cells, the cells that produce blood. A bone marrow transplant from a healthy donor can enable a person with diseased bone marrow to begin producing blood cells.  Bone marrow transplants are used as therapy for about 100 different illnesses, including leukemia, Hodgkin’s disease, diseases of the blood, and enzyme deficiencies. These diseases destroy bone marrow, which contains the stem cells responsible for manufacturing blood cells. Chemotherapy and radiation, the most common methods of destroying cancerous cells, also destroy healthy bone marrow cells.

Chances for a match increase significantly if the patient and potential donor share the same ethnic background. Because Jews in the past lived in isolated communities, they are today more genetically related to each other than to non-Jews.

This registry was established to increase the pool of Jewish potential donors. Israel is home to an entire spectrum of Jewish communities and ethnic backgrounds and is therefore the natural location for a Jewish bone marrow registry

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