Rebecca's son donated stem cells and inspired her to volunteer
Rebecca, pictured above with her husband, learned about Gift of Life in 2012 when her son Jared was identified as a match for a 57-year-old woman with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Jared was asked to go through further testing before he was confirmed as a suitable donor. It was at this point that Rebecca learned about the process of marrow and stem cell donation, and decided to become involved as a volunteer with Gift of Life. Jared went on to donate blood stem cells, and Rebecca attended the collection with him. Her son’s donation ultimately saved the recipient’s life.
In 2015, Jared met his recipient Jill at Gift of Life’s Celebrating Life Young Professionals event, held in New York City, which Rebecca was there to witness. The goal of the evening was to raise awareness of the organization’s lifesaving mission and highlight opportunities for young professionals to get involved. “It was one of the most moving experiences of my life to see that this woman’s life has continued because of my son’s donation,” said Rebecca. “Jill has since become part of our family’s lives.”
This experience, coupled with witnessing Jared’s day of collection, inspired Rebecca to take the initiative and do more. She and her family organized “Team Stein” for the inaugural Boston Walk for Life event in April 2015. Together, they brought awareness of the importance of the need for bone marrow and blood stem cells donors to their local community and asked friends for help adding more people to Gift of Life’s registry. Rebecca set a goal of fundraising $1,000 for the team, which she ended up surpassing by more than double.
“I love volunteering for Gift of Life because I witnessed firsthand how this organization truly saves lives,” said Rebecca. “Words cannot adequately explain the emotions you feel when you see how families are interconnected by such a selfless act.” She is looking forward to the second annual Boston walk on May 1 and, following her lead, the Stein family has already started gearing up for this year’s event. They have once again hoisted the “Team Stein” flag and, to date, fundraised over $1,600.
In addition to her volunteer work for Gift of Life, Rebecca helps out at her local synagogue. There, she facilitates food donations to people who do not have enough to eat. Rebecca has also worked in local food banks serving meals, partnering up with a delivery service and giving the less fortunate access to fresh fruits and vegetables. When asked how she balances doing so much for her community, Rebecca said, “You must have empathy to be a good volunteer, and you can’t be afraid to get out there and help.”
In her free time, Rebecca enjoys walking her dog, exercising, and spending time with her husband and three sons.