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Hillel and Gift of Life Partner on Campuses

by Hillel News |May 13, 2004|Comments

Groups to Educate and Recruit Donors on Campuses

Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life is entering into a partnership with the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Registry to recruit college students to participate as potential donors and raise awareness on campuses about the life-saving potential of bone marrow transplants.

"We want every college student to understand that he or she has the power to save a life by participating in a bone marrow registry," explains Hillel International President Avraham Infeld. "Hillel is pleased to be playing a leading role on campus in promoting bone marrow registration."

"We are very excited about this life-saving partnership with Hillel," said Jay Feinberg, Gift of Life's executive director, himself a bone marrow transplant recipient. "By providing educational outreach on campus, we can reinforce the concept of tikkun olam and recruit young, committed donors who will remain in the registry for many years."

Students from Hillels throughout North America will work with Gift of Life to take leadership roles in setting up bone marrow registration drives on their campuses, including creating a marketing plan and recruiting students. Through their participation, Hillel students will be able to explore issues of Jewish medical ethics, such as Jewish views on organ donation. The program will begin on campuses in the fall semester of 2004-2005.

Bone marrow transplants are used in the treatment of certain cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma, as well as other malignancies and immune diseases. Expanding the registry of potential donors is essential to increase the likelihood of finding matches for patients in need. Bone marrow screening is much easier than in years past and only requires a cheek swab. The actual donation process has changed too - the stem cells found in bone marrow can now be collected through the peripheral blood.

For more information about this program, contact Michelle Lackie, Director, Weinberg Tzedek Hillel. To learn more about Gift of Life, contact Debbie Rauh at drauh@giftoflife.org, (212) 790-4258 (toll free: (800) 9MARROW) or visit www.giftoflife.org.

Hillel is the world's largest Jewish campus organization with over 500 locations worldwide. Hillel's social justice program, Weinberg Tzedek Hillel, enables students to address a wide range of issues such as voter mobilization, hunger, homelessness, illiteracy, and child welfare. The Gift of Life Bone Marrow Registry facilitates blood stem cell transplants for children and adults suffering from life-threatening illnesses. Since tissue type is inherited and thus ethnically determined, Gift of Life's mission is to increase the representation of Jewish volunteers registered as donors in order to overcome the devastating effects of the Holocaust, which severed bloodlines. There are currently over 80,000 men, women, young adults and children on the list for transplants. Last year over 6,000 people died due to the lack of organs, while 22,000 lives were saved as a result of organ transplants.


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