The Boston skyline at evening was the beautiful backdrop for an incredible meeting between a local man who survived leukemia and the woman who donated blood stem cells to save his life.
The introduction was the highlight of Gift of Life’s Boston Sunset Soirée, our first live event in Boston since the start of the pandemic. Young Professionals Committee members Jared Stein and Dan Adelson organized and hosted the April 25 event at the Lookout Rooftop of The Envoy Hotel. More than 200 Gift of Life supporters came out to share in drinks and a light meal, and to reconnect with friends.
Jack Huang, the CEO of Basho Japanese Brasserie and Douzo Modern Japanese Restaurant, was given the honor of introducing the donor and recipient. Jack has previously supported and hosted a Gift of Life event in Boston.
Jack first welcomed stem cell recipient Clark Friedman and shared his story. Clark, a 63-year-old resident of Needham, Mass., was first diagnosed with blood cancer after a tennis game. During his annual checkup, his doctor noticed strange results in his blood work, and a hematologist confirmed he was battling Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia. After the cancer did not respond to initial treatments, his best hope of a cure was a peripheral blood stem cell transplant from a donor on the registry.
Fortunately, Clark’s match, 24-year-old Anna Zborowski, a resident of New York City, said that when she was contacted about donating, “The emotions I felt were almost indescribable!” She joined the registry in 2016 at a friend’s house, where a drive was being held to find a match for Adam Krief, z”l. Anna donated twice for Clark, first peripheral blood stem cells, and a few months later she gave an infusion of white blood cells to aid in his recovery.
The moment of their meeting had arrived, and Anna and Clark shared a long embrace to the warm applause of the event participants.
“Thank you for being there for me,” said Clark, who presented Anna with a beautiful pair of earrings to commemorate their first meeting. “I am on to a completely new phase in my life, a real quantum leap, and it is thanks to you.”
“I always dreamed of the moment of meeting you,” said Anna. “It is a surreal feeling being able to see you happy and, most importantly, healthy.”
From an early age Anna has always enjoyed helping others, including volunteering at Camp Simcha, a camp for children diagnosed with cancer, and at Camp Hasc, where children with developmental disabilities can expand their capabilities.
“This was the most unbelievable experience,” said Anna. “It’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I feel lucky to know I was able to help Clark and his family.”
To view the photo gallery from the event, click here.
Anna is an ABA instructor for Autistic Children and is continuing her studies in Special Education. She enjoys exploring New York City with her friends and visiting the wide variety of restaurants.
Clark is a husband, father, and retired businessman, who spends his time training his new collie, playing chess, and practicing meditation.
The Young Professionals Committee of Boston, currently chaired by Jared Stein and Dan Adelson, welcomes your involvement in support of Gift of Life’s mission – to ensure that every patient has a donor available at the time they are needed