Ezer Mizion’s fifth annual Golf Tournament and Spa Day was held over Thanksgiving week at the exclusive Caesarea Golf Club in support of Ezer Mizion’s Bone Marrow Registry.
The event is the intitiative of both Israeli residents and friends of Ezer Mizion from across the globe. This competitive tournament combines their love for golf with their sincere desire to benefit the organization that has saved countless lives around the globe.
While the rest of Israel experienced torrential rains, golfers miraculously enjoyed fair weather on the green while non-golfer spa guests were pampered at the nearby Caesar Spa.
At the the tournament dinner, which was held at the prestigious Caesaria Golf Club, golfers who particuipated in the event for five consecutive years were honored for their solidarity and support. Special guest, Peter Friedmann of Toronto, who flew in from Canada especially to join in this momentous event, invited all those present to join him next autumn at the twelfth annual Canadian golf tournament that he will be coordinating in support of Ezer Mizion’s registry at the celebrated Red Tail Golf Club in Ontario.
A highlight of the dinner was the meeting of David, a young father and one of the many whose lives were saved by Ezer Mizion. Osnat, David’s wife, told the audience how Ezer Mizion was with them every step of the way in their fierce struggle with cancer. David was then asked if he had ever met the person whose stem cells had saved his life. When he answered in the negative, to his joyous surprise, he was asked if he would like to meet him right now. Elad then stepped forward and was immediately embraced by David as the guests witnessed the emotional scene. It was at that moment that each golfer truly understood the importance of his participation in the day on the green helping to save Jewish lives.
Some time ago, Osnat had expressed her feelings toward Ezer Mizion:
David is the manager of a software company, a job that keeps him busy every moment. He didn’t feel well, as if he had a lingering flu, but he simply didn’t have time to be sick. At that time, swine flu was going around the country, so I asked him to go for a check-up and get some medication. We were absolutely relaxed about it. I dropped him off at Tel Hashomer Hospital and continued home to Tel Aviv to pick up the girls. I had just had time to pick up Lior, our oldest daughter, when David called and said, “Nu, when are you coming?” It was his voice but not the casual David that I know. Something was very wrong. I flew to the hospital. The results had come in fast. And they were not good. Leukemia.
I stood there stupefied. Leukemia doesn’t happen. Not to us. Maybe others but not us. Later I would discover that is how everyone-all the ‘others’- also felt when they heard the news about their own diagnosis. “We’re strong and we’ll get through this,” I assured him although my knees were shaking with terror.
Seven-year-old Lior asked, “Is Abba going to die?” I grabbed hold of a chair to steady myself. I didn’t feel older than seven myself. Yet I had to be the strong one.
David underwent chemotherapy treatments but it wasn’t enough. A bone marrow transplant was needed to save his life and a genetic match was essential.
Immediate family was checked. No match.
It was a tough moment, frightening and shattering. But then we heard about Ezer Mizion’s Bone Marrow Donor Registry. I remembered all the advertisements I had seen in the past that “We’re looking for a donor for so-and-so’s father…” I hoped we would not be in that place. Will there be a match already on the database? The thought of waiting was terrifying and what if…what if it was not found in time? At the end of a nerve-racking month, we were told that a matching donor was located in the Registry. We were thrilled.
The transplant was successful, and today David is recovering from it. Words cannot express our thanks to Ezer Mizion for the holy work they do. We owe them David’s life. Without them, our girls may learn to double-jump rope, star in a school play, get an A in a book report, enter high school, start their first job, and walk down the aisle towards marriage…and their father…their father who loves them more than life itself…their father may not have been there to share it all with them. Ezer Mizion, we can never repay you!
Earlier tournaments funded genetic testing of close to 4,000 new members, greatly enlarging the registry. These members have been tagged in a personalized pool within the main registry entiutled “Hole in One” donor pool, which has so far saved the lives of two patients by facilitating transplants through matching donors from the Ezer Mizion registry.
Part of the income generated by golf tournament sponsorships is earmarked for support of Ezer Mizion’s cancer support activities, focusing on the emotional support project which provides counseling, therapy and vital coping tools for families challenged by cancer.
First Place winners, Yossi Miller, Laurie Spieler, Alex Green and Terry Newman, proudly led the way as trophies were awarded in varied levels. Participants cheered the achievements of the titleholders and eagerly anticipated the excitement of next year’s event.
For further info: www.ezermizion.org