Four cutting-edge blood collection and rescue vehicles worth $750,000 will be added to the Magen David Adom fleet next week, thanks to a major donation by the Messing family in England via the British Friends of MDA.
The vehicles are unique and the first of their kind to be donated to MDA: They were developed according to MDA's blood services' specifications to include room for four blood donation beds, each with separation to provide privacy while would-be donors are asked about their medical histories. The vans meet strict European standards, with electronic weighing and registration of each pint of blood. There is even music to relax the blood donor.
Members of the Messer family emigrated from Germany after the Holocaust to both Israel and England. Hava and Isaac Messing, and their children Clara, Morris, Oscar and Wilhelm, are no longer alive. The dedication ceremony will be held Tuesday on the anniversary of the birth of Wilhelm, who was killed in the Holocaust. Morris Messing donated an ambulance to MDA that operated on the Golan Heights after the Six Day War, 41 years ago. His widow Suzie cannot come for the ceremony, but the ambulances will be in her honor and his relatives' memory.
Meanwhile, the American Friends of Magen David Adom (AFMDA) expects to set a new record on Sunday for total blood donations in blood drives it has sponsored. On that day, another "Sharing For Life" blood campaign, especially for American tourists but open to other healthy donors as well, will be held at Jerusalem's Hechal Shlomo building on King George Street between 4 and 8 p.m., in conjunction with the Council of Young Israel Rabbis in Israel and the Worldwide Young Israel movement.
Since 2006, AFMDA has enabled some 2,000 American tourists and others to donate blood to Magen David Adom, including at least 350 in 2006 and 802 in 2007. It is on the verge of surpassing last year's total only eight months into the year.
The effort has been described in the media and by tourism professionals as a "trend" and a "new tourist attraction."
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