News & Events

Gift of Life Partners with Hillel

Date: 4/30/2004

Gift of Life is thrilled to announce a landmark partnership with Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life. Students on college campuses across North America will have the opportunity to participate in programs aimed at raising awareness on their campuses about the life-saving potential of bone marrow transplants and join Gift of Life's registry as volunteer donors.

Hillel is the world's largest Jewish campus organization with over 500 locations worldwide. Hillel's social justice program, Weinberg Tzedek Hillel, enables students to address a wide range of issues such as voter mobilization, hunger, homelessness, illiteracy, and child welfare.

"We are very excited about this life-saving partnership with Hillel," said Jay Feinberg, Gift of Life's executive director, himself a bone marrow transplant recipient. "By providing educational outreach on campus, we can reinforce the concept of tikkun olam and recruit young, committed donors who will remain in the registry for many years."

An integral part of the program will be education and empowerment. Students will work with Gift of Life to take leadership roles in setting up donor drives on their campuses and develop marketing plans to recruit and educate fellow students. Through their participation, Hillel students will also explore issues of Jewish medical ethics, such as views on organ donation and pikuach nefesh, saving lives.

By putting the tools to run successful donor drives in the hands of students and allowing them to take ownership of the planning and implementation, Gift of Life will allow them to experience firsthand the thrill of planning and participating in an important activity for the greater good of their community. "We want every college student to understand that he or she has the power to save a life by participating in a bone marrow registry," explains Hillel International President Avraham Infeld. "Hillel is pleased to be playing a leading role on campus in promoting bone marrow registration."

Gift of Life manages a database of over 75,000 volunteer donors recruited in Jewish communities throughout North America. Its mission to improve the chances that Jewish patients needing transplants will find genetically matched donors, a need that arose in part due to the Holocaust which severed bloodlines, is unique among other bone marrow donor registries in the world. The donor database is made available to any transplant center searching for a match for patients around the world. Since donors remain in the Registry until their 61st birthday, recruiting young, healthy students is particularly desirable. These younger donors will have the potential to save lives for many decades to come.

Joining Gift of Life's Registry is simple, fast and painless, requiring only a cheek swab. No blood is drawn at donor drives. The program began on campuses in the fall semester of 2004. For more information, contact Shayne Pilpel, Gift of Life Recruitment Coordinator at 1-800-9MARROW, spilpel@giftoflife.org or Michelle Lackie, Director, Weinberg Tzedek Hillel at mlackie@hillel.org, (202) 449-6595. For more information about Hillel, visit www.hillel.org.

To request information about organizing a donor drive on your campus, click here.


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