For many people suffering from blood cancer, the only hope for survival is a bone marrow transplant from a donor whose bone marrow is very similar to the patient’s. When a close match is found, with Hashem’s help, the patient is likely to recover. The challenge is finding a match – and the first step might be a cheek swab.
Adam Krief is a local 31-year-old father of three children under four who was recently diagnosed with myelofibrosis – a rare form of blood cancer. Unfortunately, the disease is progressing quickly, and Adam needs a bone marrow transplant as soon as possible. Currently, among the potential donors in a worldwide database of two million people, no one is a match for Adam.
Adam’s family and friends launched a campaign, Hope4Adam. They are setting up bone marrow drives all over the world, where anyone can get tested with a simple cheek swab to determine if they are a match. Moreover, their information will be entered into the worldwide bone marrow database, and even if they are not a match for Adam they might match another patient and save their life.
As Adam is of Moroccan Jewish descent, the most likely candidate for a match would be another Moroccan Jew. Therefore, the campaign is especially focusing on the Jewish community. In the past few weeks, thousands of people were tested and added to the database. A country-wide drive in Israel this week is expected to add tens of thousands.
Betty Braun, a close family friend who is very involved in the campaign, says, “Adam is bringing out the best in the world. Hundreds of people are involved, all over the world – people who don’t know Adam, who never met him.”
Lia Krief, Adam’s wife, explains that while they began the campaign out of necessity, “it developed into an emotional and spiritual support system.” She tells of a drive in the Times Square in New York City, where the participants spontaneously broke into a dance. “This is one of the most beautiful experiences of our lives,” she says. “The achdut, the way everyone has rallied.” She adds that Adam will be spending the yamim tovim in the hospital, and the love and support he is receiving gives him strength and comfort.
In the United States, the testing is sponsored and conducted by the Gift of Life and Be the Match programs. In other countries, however, the drives are expensive to conduct. Part of the Hope4Adam campaign involves fundraising to cover the testing expenses outside of the U.S. More information on both testing and donating is available at hope4adam.com.
Several drives will be conducted in the Greater Los Angeles this week. In addition, one can register online at http://www.giftoflife.org/hope4adam. A testing kit will be mailed free of charge to anyone who registers.