Nassau County Legislator Ellen W. Birnbaum is supporting a series of marrow donor recruitment drives on behalf of Gift of Life Marrow Registry as part of an urgent campaign to find a bone marrow or stem cell donor for a 10-year-old boy that is battling leukemia.
On Saturday, Sept. 21, Temple Israel of Great Neck, 108 Old Mill Rd., Great Neck, will welcome potential donors before its Selichot service from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. There will be three more drives on Sunday, Sept. 22: at Beth Hadassah Synagogue, 160 Steamboat Rd., from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; the Mashadi Jewish Center, 54 Steamboat Rd., from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and the Babylonian Jewish Center, 440 Great Neck Rd., from 4:30 to 10 p.m.
Elan Shademan and his family, who live in California and have family ties to Great Neck, received the devastating diagnosis five months ago. Shademan recently started chemotherapy and needs a transplant within the next three weeks. Because ethnic background and ancestry increase the probability of a successful DNA match, prospective donors that share Shademan’s half-Ashkenazi and half-Sephardic Iranian-Jewish heritage are urged to participate. All residents ages 18 to 35 are encouraged to undergo the test, which involves only a simple, painless cheek swabbing.
“The Iranian-American communities on America’s coasts share strong cultural and family bonds. I am truly hopeful that we will find among our neighbors the person that can make a life-saving donation to Elan as he battles leukemia,” Legislator Birnbaum said. “I implore Nassau County residents to heed this urgent appeal and be tested.”
Thus far, a coalition of community organizations have scheduled 12 drives in Nassau County, Queens and Manhattan in partnership with the Gift of Life Marrow Registry. The group includes the Ahavat Shalom Synagogue; the Babylonian Jewish Center; Beth Hadassah Synagogue; the Ester Chapter of Hadassah; the Iranian Jewish Center; the Iranian American Jewish Federation; Iranian Mothers Association; Mashadi Jewish Center; Sephardic Heritage Alliance Inc.; the Persian Jewish Center of New York City and Temple Beth Israel of Great Neck. The drives are being organized by Isabel Sakhaie from Gift of Life and Josephine Mairzadeh, Legislator Birnbaum’s Legislative Aide.
Residents can also support the effort by donating at www.giftoflife.org/ELAN to defray the cost of processing a kit.
For additional information, contact Legislator Birnbaum’s office at 516-571-6210 or EBirnbaum@nassaucountyny.gov.
—Submitted by Nassau County Legislature’s Minority Caucus