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About (created on Feb 21, 2011)
This donor circle is set up in memory of Marla Gilson who passed away on October 29, 2011 from an acute form of leukemia. She was 60.
As the JTA wire service wrote recently, Gilson had long been known in Washington for her advocacy work for federally funded stem cell research and for banning the use of genetic information in employment.
In addition to her work as the long-time head of Hadassah's Washington office, Gilson was an alumna of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) and the Jewish federation system, as well as a frequent Democratic Party political operative. In June, 2010, Gilson was recruited to head the Association of Jewish Aging Services (AJAS).
In early January 2011, after a hospitalization, she got the diagnosis: mylogenic and bilineal leukemia. Her best chance for recovery meant chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant.
Almost as soon as Gilson went public with her illness, friends and family launched a campaign to find her a bone marrow match.
As it turned out, by the time the screenings campaign started, a bone marrow donor had already been identified for Gilson. Rather than directly assisting her, the screenings became a way to honor her and her career.
Bone marrow donor registration drives were held at Hadassah headquarters in New York, at Purim parties in Washington, at the Washington D.C. Jewish Community Center and at the K Street headquarters of several national Jewish groups.
At the K Street drive, organized by Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, founder of The Israel Project and a friend of Gilson's, 48 people registered as donors over the course of two hours.
"She would walk on hot coals for the Jewish people, and she has never been shy about speaking out on behalf of others," Mizrahi told JTA of Gilson. "So if I can do something small to have some ability to help her, it's only my honor to do so."
Marla’s memory remains alive and it is because of her that other patients in need will receive the gift of life.
Matches and Transplants
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Dec 09, 2013
New match in Match for Marla z'l
A donor sponsored by Match for Marla z'l has matched a 23 year old man suffering from Acute Myelogenous Leukemia.