Donating blood marrow or fighting in the field, IDF soldiers save lives

Cpl. Ozen is one of hundreds of IDF (Zahal) soldiers who donated blood marrow and saved lives. Over 200 thousand soldiers already in the pool of potential donors

Date: 26/07/2012, 5:29 PM     Author: Florit Shoihet

Hundreds of new IDF (Zahal) recruits that were drafted this week chose to give a blood sample and joined the over 200 thousands soldiers already in the pool of potential bone marrow donors. Seven years ago the Ezer Mizion (Aid from Zion) health support organization started the project, offering soldiers the opportunity to become potential donors on their first day in the military at the IDF (Zahal) Induction Center.  

Just like many other soldiers, Cpl. Osher Ozen, a combat soldier in the Kfir Brigade, decided to give a blood sample and join the pool of potential bone marrow donors. Cpl. Ozen is one of the few donors in the pool who were found to be a match to a patient in need. He was surprised, as it is extremely rare to find such a match, though quickly agreed to carry out the donation. This month, approximately a year since he enlisted, Cpl. Ozen saved a sick six-year-old girl with his donation, and he does not regret doing so for a single moment.

“When I decided to give a blood sample at the Induction Center, I thought that since I chose to become a combat soldier and am contributing to the country, then saving a life with a bone marrow donation is just like fighting in enemy territory,” said Cpl. Ozen in a conversation with the IDF (Zahal) Website. “When informed as was found to be a match, I decided to go for it and save a life,” he said with a smile.

Cpl. Ozen’s commander supported his decision to donate and allowed him to complete commanders’ course early in order to go through the necessary preparations. “For four days a nurse would come and give me two injections. On the fifth day I was hospitalized in the children’s wing where they opened two veins and inserted tubes. After four hours I was released and two days later returned to commanders’ course,” he explained.

“It was extremely exciting, and I was happy all my commanders supported me. For me it’s simple, but for the little girl the procedure was truly life saving,” concluded Cpl. Ozen. “I recommend that every newly drafted soldier gives a blood sample, it should be a duty every person takes on.”