120,000 IDF (Zahal) soldiers have already joined the bone marrow donors register

Date: 15/10/2009, 12:20 PM     Author: Dikla Schneider

On Monday (Dec. 14), the head of the Human Resources Directorate, Maj. Gen. Avi Zamir, the Chief Medical Officer, Brig. Gen. Dr. Nachman Esh, the chairman of the Ezer Mitzion health support organization, Rabbi Hanania Tchulek, and other representatives of the organization met at the Tel Hashomer military base for the inauguration of the renovated bone marrow donation station of the Induction Base.

“The renewed station that we are inaugurating today presents us with an opportunity to enlarge the reserves and help those who depend on these important donations,” said Maj. Gen. Zamir during the ceremony. Every year thousands of people worldwide are diagnosed with diseases that can only be cured with the help of bone marrow transplants, but only one third of them find a donor through their family members. The public, however, can help by donating bone marrow, and through a short blood test, the right bone marrow can be found for any patient.

In 2005, the IDF (Zahal) and the Ezer Mitzion organization signed a cooperation contract, and thus the bone marrow donation station on the IDF (Zahal) Induction Base was established. Every soldier passes through the station during his induction process and is given the opportunity to join the donor register through a simple blood test. “In my vision I saw numerous soldiers joining, but I never believed that the station would become such a center of attraction for so many soldiers,” said Dr. Bracha Sisser, the manager of the Ezer Mitzion bone marrow donor register.

Sisser also pointed out that IDF (Zahal) soldiers are actually found to be suitable donors more frequently than Israeli civilians, because they represent a variety of ethnic groups in Israeli society. In addition, they are young, healthy and fit for donations. “In addition to being a body that protects the safety of the State of Israel, through its cooperation with Ezer Mitzion, the IDF (Zahal) has also become a health protection network for the residents of Israel,” added Dr. Bracha Sisser.

“We are satisfied with the increase of IDF (Zahal) soldiers donating bone marrow,” said Maj. Gen. Zamir. In the four years since the establishment of the station, almost 120,000 IDF (Zahal) soldiers have joined the bone marrow donors register. “In days of emergency and routine, we educate our soldiers to fulfill their military missions, however complex and sensitive they may be, and stay human. There is no closer or more important bond between one human being and another, between someone who is in need and someone who wants to give, and especially when talking about a donation that improves life and sometimes even saves it,” added Maj. Gen. Zamir.

Cpl. Roy Shogar, a Field Intelligence Corps combat soldier, joined the register on his drafting day, and in last July he was contacted by Ezer Mitzion because he was found as a suitable donor. He happily volunteered to donate bone morrow for a thirty year old man who desperately needed it. “As they promised, the process of donation didn’t hurt at all,” he said and added that he is waiting impatiently for next year when he will be able to meet the man he donated for. “It is an amazing feeling to know that you have the ability to save someone’s life, and I recommend to everyone who has the possibility, to join the register.”