Two local congregations will be doing something extra to give back to the community this High Holiday season.
Congregation Beth Shalom in Northbrook and Emanuel Congregation in Chicago will be holding bone marrow donor drives to help two members of the community in need: Marc Chibnik and Lacey Horwich.
Chibnik, a father to four children, was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma ALK+ IV (a form of blood cancer). A transplant from an unrelated donor is essential for his survival. He needs the transplant immediately while he is in remission because of the aggressiveness of the disease. His cancer came back within seven months of his last transplant using his own stem cells.
Nine-year-old Horwich was diagnosed with HLH, a rare blood disorder that causes the blood cells to attack the body's cells and organs. She has been in the hospital since Aug. 1, 2011 fighting for her life. Most recently, Horwich woke and discovered she has permanent, severe hearing loss. Despite all this, she and her family fight on for her to return to the things she loves; spending time with family, dancing, and painting.
At Congregation Beth Shalom congregants will be asked to have their cheeks swabbed to join the Be The Match donor registry when they come to pick up their High Holiday tickets.
Rabbi Carl Wolkin said "this is an opportunity to write someone else into the book of life," during a time when we ourselves ask to be inscribed.
At Emanuel Congregation, congregants will ask to register during Yom Kippur morning services at stations set up throughout the synagogue. They will hear from a recipient of a bone marrow transplant during their family service at 9 a.m., which is free and open to community members who register online.
"If one can do something, how in the world can one be silent in such circumstances?" said Rabbi Michael Zedek, Emanuel's senior rabbi, adding that any one person may be the match that saves someone's life.
The best match for Chibnik and Horwich are members of the Jewish community. A quick five minute swab is all it takes to be added to the donor registry. If you are interested in hosting a donor drive, call Jennifer Baird at Be The Match at (877) 601-1926 ext. 7742.