Maccabeats’ “Shine” & the Gift of Life

I remember back over twenty years ago, when Jay this Feinberg was suffering from Leukemia.  There was a call especially to Ashkenazic Jews to be tested to see if they would be a match for a bone marrow transplant.  Below is the article from Wikipedia on Jay Feinberg and how his experience led to the Gift of Life Foundation.  The Maccabeats latest song has the new “swab test” as the backdrop:

Jay Feinberg (b. August 1968 in New York) is a leukemia survivor and is the founder and current CEO of the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation. Feinberg was a 22-year-old foreign-exchange analyst for the Federal Reserve in New York in 1991 when he was diagnosed with leukemia and told that a bone marrow transplant was his only hope. A match was not found in Mr. Feinberg’s immediate family, so his friends and relatives widened their search among Ashkenazi Jews. Feinberg’s plight, along with that of Mario Cooper, a graphic design artist, and Erskine Henderson, an attorney at Skadden Arps, was featured in a New York Times article, dated December 16, 1991.[1]  Massive screenings were organized in Jewish communities throughout North America and Israel. In addition, screenings were held in Belarus (by Arnie Draiman and Bill Begal), Australia and South Africa.[2]

By 1995, more than 55,000 people had been tested. Feinberg’s condition was rapidly deteriorating and only a partial match had been found. A friend in Milwaukee organized one last drive and teenager Becky Faibisoff, the last person tested, was a match. Ms. Faibisoff, whose marrow saved Feinberg’s life, now lives in Riverdale and teaches at SAR Academy.

Feinberg’s experience led him to devote his life to educating and encouraging people to add themselves to bone marrow registries around the world. The Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation, the Florida-based organization of which he is founder and CEO, seeks to increase the number of registered Jews, many of whom lack extended family because of the Holocaust. According to statistics found at http://www.bmdw.org, Gift of Life is among the larger registries in the world.

In 2004, Feinberg was awarded the Charles Bronfman Prize for his dedication to the fight against leukemia and his service to the Jewish community. In 2005, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Yeshiva University,[3] along with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. In 2010, he was awarded the Jewish Community Hero Award for his inspiring service to both the Jewish community and all those in need of bone marrow transplants by Jewish Federations of North America [4]

Mario Cooper found a bone marrow match but died from complications caused by the bone marrow transplantation.

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