July 24, 2024
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July 24, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

RKYHS Alum Donates Bone Marrow

One morning a few months ago, Sam Shulman (JKHA ‘15/RKYHS ‘19) saw an email in his inbox from the Gift of Life Registry. Intrigued, he opened it and to his surprise, he read that he had matched as a stem cell donor.

In 2019, at the end of Sam’s senior year at RKYHS, he heard about the Gift of Life Registry at a SEED speaker presentation as part of school programming. He learned that the Gift of Life Registry is a bone marrow registry that matches donors to recipients and that it can save the recipient’s life. Sam said: “I didn’t really think twice about swabbing [at RKYHS]. It took almost no effort and had the potential to save someone’s life. Plus, I got to miss class so it was an easy decision.”

After graduating from RKYHS, Sam spent a year in Israel learning at Reishit and is now studying computer science at Yeshiva University. Over the past 5 years, he didn’t think much about the Gift of Life Registry. He thought it would be cool if he matched, but it wasn’t something on his mind. When he received the email that said he was a match, he was cautiously optimistic because he knew there were many steps to go through before getting the green light to actually donate. Sam was told the age, gender and medical condition of the patient, but no other information was shared.

During the period from receiving the original email to the actual donation, Sam learned detailed information about the process through calls and consultations to ensure that he was fully prepared. Sam says, “Personally, I thought it was a no-brainer to donate. You are literally saving someone’s life and you get a free vacation to Boca Raton for five days, where their donation center is located. It felt like a win-win situation.”

Once Sam decided to donate, the Gift of Life Registry took care of everything. He explained:

They flew me and a companion to Florida where we stayed with a friend for Shabbos. Then we spent three nights at a beautiful hotel on the beach in Delray. They covered all the expenses of the trip. On the day of the donation, they sent a car to take us to the donation center. The process was seamless and well-managed. It is basically like giving blood but for an extended period of time. I was able to watch Netflix and play Nintendo Switch. They even had kosher food delivered from a local restaurant, Carmela’s.

It was an amazing experience overall, and I felt extremely lucky to participate, knowing that I was making a significant difference in someone’s life.

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