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Coming in 2025: “One in a Million” – the inspiring documentary about Jay Feinberg

Aug 14, 2023 by Gift of Life News

Gift of Life Marrow Registry is excited to announce the forthcoming documentary film, “One in a Million”, by Emmy-award-winning director Jerry Levine. The film features the inspiring story of one family’s courageous efforts to save their dying son, resulting in the creation of a public bone marrow registry that would go on to save thousands of lives, and set the standard for registries around the world. The film is nearing completion and will launch in 2025. 

In 1991, 23-year-old Jay Feinberg of West Orange, N.J. was about to start law school when he was diagnosed with leukemia. A bone marrow transplant from a matching donor could save him, but, while his brothers were perfect matches for each other, they didn’t match Jay. The recently-founded national marrow registry was building a database of volunteer donors, but there were few Jewish donors registered, and none of them were a match for Jay. 


When doctors told Jay to put together his bucket list and enjoy what life he had left, his mother remained hopeful and defiant. In an era without cell phones or social media, Arlene and Jack Feinberg sat down at the dining room table and created an international grassroots campaign, holding recruitment drives locally, and then nationally, to find the one matching donor who could save their son. 

Finding that person meant contacting synagogues and day schools across America, sending out thousands of press releases, doing hundreds of newspaper interviews, and going on television to publicize the search.  Jay was a featured guest on “Sally Jessie Raphael”, introducing America to the idea that stem cells have the incredible power to cure blood cancer – if a matching donor can be found. 

Thousands of people stepped up to help organize drives and publicize the campaign, culminating in a global search that extended to Europe and Belarus, where Jay’s family originates. However, with Jewish bloodlines decimated by the Holocaust, the DNA detective work taken on by Jay and his family was literally a one in a million proposition.  

More than 60,000 people were ultimately tested, along the way finding matches for many patients who had been awaiting a donor. Yet four years passed with no match for Jay, and it became time to hold the last drive.

Thanks to an incredible sequence of improbable events, Jay’s life was saved by a girl who unexpectedly found herself volunteering at that very last drive in Milwaukee, Wisc. Afraid of needles, but inspired by what she learned at the drive, Becky Keller overcame her fears and was tested at the end of the day at this last donor recruitment event held for Jay. She soon learned she was his match. 

After recovering from the bone marrow transplant, Jay wondered, what would happen to the many others patients who were still hoping to find their lifesaver? To pay it forward, Jay founded the Gift of Life Marrow Registry, and has dedicated his life to helping those who need a matching donor to save their lives. 

“’One in a Million’ shares the important message that one person can make a big difference in the world,” said Jay. “When Becky decided to donate her marrow, it saved more than one life; it has saved thousands and the ripple effect of that single action continues to this day.”

We look forward to announcing both television dates and theatrical showings in the near future.  To learn more about the film, visit