Jay Feinberg Named Community Hero
The recipient of the Jewish Community Hero Award was announced at the closing plenary of the Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly held in New Orleans, Louisiana, with the top recognition going to Jay Feinberg, Founder and Executive Director of the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation. Recognized for his work to increase the representation of ethnically diverse donors in the world-wide registries, Feinberg’s contributions to making the world a better place have not gone unnoticed. Previously the inaugural recipient of the prestigious Bronfman Prize, Jay’s humanitarian effort exemplifies his motivation and on-going commitment to helping others.
Jay found his nomination, and subsequent appointment as Jewish Community Hero a positive and re-affirming experience. Prior to the ceremony, he wrote to his staff, “Whether I am selected or not, this process has cast a spotlight on the important work that we do here at Gift of Life. Each and every one of you is a hero to our patients and to me!” He also realizes that being in the company of the other nominees and finalists was truly humbling.
What started as a grassroots effort, known as “Friends of Jay,” saved his life, and has turned into his life’s work. A fifteen-year transplant survivor himself, Jay knows first-hand how important finding a match is to every patient in need. He remembers his extensive search and how his own miracle match was the very last of 60,000 people tested over a four year period. Those people tested saved hundreds of other people’s lives, and Jay made the conscious decision that he couldn’t turn his back and walk away The path of his life was changed, and since then his commitment has only intensified. The Friends of Jay became the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation. His vision has remained the same; A match. Anytime. Anywhere. For anyone.
Today, Jay feels that he has been given an opportunity that is two-fold. Not only will the $25,000 grant allow almost 500 new donors to be tested and entered into the registry, but exposure to the cause would bring the importance of bone marrow and blood stem cell transplantation to the forefront of topics of conversation with people from all walks of life. Any one of those donors could be the miracle match for the many patients searching for their match.
Gift of Life currently has over 174,000 potential donors in their database and has facilitated over 2,160 bone marrow, blood stem cell and umbilical cord blood transplants for children and adults suffering from life-threatening illnesses. In addition, Gift of Life provides donor advocacy services and information and referrals to patients and their families.
For more information about how you can become involved with Gift of Life, or to make a tax-deductible contribution, visit our website at www.giftoflife.org
or call 1-800-9MARROW.