January 23, 2020

It has been a long time since I have added to this blog. The good news is that there is no news on the health front. I will be seeing my transplant surgeon, Dr. Keyzner, in two weeks for the first of our visits on the new once every other month schedule. I have been fighting a cold but it is mostly gone. Again, good news – I can fight off a cold even if it takes some time.

What have I been doing? I have found two volunteer opportunities. I am working with Be The Match, the registry for bone marrow donors. I was on that list for three years and there were no perfect matches for me. I recall when Rhonda and I were in at the orientation session for those having a bone marrow transplant at Mt. Sinai. There was another couple sitting across the table. We were chatting and I mentioned that I did not have a perfect match. The woman across the table awaiting a bone marrow transplant said that Be the Match found 66 perfect matches for her. As you know, I had a haploid, half, match with my son, Gabe. While that was successful, my odds of survival would have been much better had there been a perfect ten out of ten match for me. I want to help others find the best match possible. So with Be The Match I am organizing an opportunity for people in our community to swab their cheek and be listed as a possible donor. That will be at the Fair Lawn Jewish Center/Congregation B’nai Israel on Sunday, March 1 from 8:30am to 10:30am on the same morning of the 5K Purim Fun Run.  I am hoping that not only will some of the runners register, but that that parents who are dropping off their children for Religious School, as well as others in the community, will be willing to swab their cheek and possibly save a life. The preference is for donors under the age of 45. Even if you are older, please convince your friends, family members and neighbors to help save a life. I have also volunteered to help Be The Match as an ambassador advocate to educate lawmakers about the importance of ensuring all patients have access to lifesaving cellular therapy and other issues critical to bone marrow transplant patients.

As an Ambassador I will be on monthly conference calls about current proposed legislation. However, this month it was scheduled for the same time as my other volunteer work. I was recently appointed to the Fair Lawn Borough Human Relations Commission. I have so few commitments on my calendar now but sure enough the first meeting of that Commission coincided with the conference call. I went to the Fair Lawn meeting and was able to listen to a recording of the call a few days later.

At the Commission meeting we discussed ways to increase inter-group understanding and create a more harmonious and unified Fair Lawn. We introduced ourselves and started brain storming ideas for programs. I will keep you informed as the committee’s work continues.

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