Bracha Jaffe is an oncology nurse by profession. Every day she sees cancer patients—many of them frum Jews. For a significant percentage of them, a bone marrow transplant is their last chance. As they lie on a hospital bed davening for the genetic match to be found in time, Bracha davens alongside them.
A highly talented young woman, Bracha has created many a professional performance. Seeking to benefit those with whom she has shed many a tear, she has offered to create a show to benefit Ezer Mizion’s international Jewish bone marrow registry. Together with Mina Black, The Davis Sisters, and Rachel Jakob, Bracha has created an outstanding, professional performance of joy, achdus, and tefillah—Yiddishkeit at its best.
Bracha feels a deep connection with Ezer Mizion. Ezer Mizion is the largest bone marrow registry in the world. It has facilitated over 1,000 transplants, saving the lives of cancer patients like the ones she deals with on a daily basis. But even the largest registry is not large enough, and too many requests are returned with the words: no match found, a virtual death sentence. A charming eight-year-old boy with blond hair was waiting for the call that would mean life. But it didn’t come in time. He will never be nine. His seat in the classroom is empty. His father, who has risen way above human emotions, has spoken at public events urging people to support Ezer Mizion so that, for others, the story can have a happy ending.
And there are so many waiting. Imagine a five-year-old mischievous imp who can no longer engage in his daily naughtiness. Now he lies limp, too weak to even lift a crayon. He waits. His parents wait. His grandparents wait. They wait in hope and prayer for the lifesaving genetic match to be found before it’s too late. The phone rings. Baruch Hashem. The news is good. We cannot fathom their elation at hearing that the child will live. Because a genetic match was found, he will mature. He’ll marry. He’ll raise his own children. They will, in turn, have families. Generations. Forever.
Dr. Michael Harris, Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital’s director, recently sent Ezer Mizion two files of children for whom he had no match, “And Ezer Mizion found matches for both of them! This is why we need Ezer Mizion,” he said.
As the registry grows, the chances become greater for that happy ending. A sixteen-year-old young man named Alex, son of oncologist Dr. Aaron Katz, is one of those storybook endings. “He’s doing great after his transplant,” says his mother. At a recent event, he took the mike and thanked the audience for their help in providing the ultimate gift, the gift of a future. Ezer Mizion’s goal is to grow from its current over 600,000 registrants to one million, a number that, statistically, will enable virtually each request to be met with a resounding “Yes! We have a match!”
Join in at Forever. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll feel part of something big. And your participation will help sick Yidden to have a future…forever. For information or tickets, call 718-853-8400. Forever is scheduled to take place on December 29 at Brooklyn College Center for Performing Arts. Tickets can be purchased at Eichlers in Borough Park, Eichlers in Flatbush, Judaica Place in Flatbush, Torah Treasures in Flatbush, Tuvia’s in Monsey, and Doren’s in Monroe.