Six-year-old Amit Kadosh, who was diagnosed with leukemia just before she was set to begin first grade nine months ago, flew to the US last week for a life-saving bone-marrow transplant.
The girl from Kfar Saba was accompanied on the flight by her parents, brother, grandmother - and Dr. Arik Alper, the American-born pediatrician who this year won NIS 1 million for his victory in the second season of Hisardut, Israel's version of Survivor, on Panama's Pearl Islands.
"Ezer Mizion approached me. I asked the director of my hospital for permission, and I came happily," said Alper, who made aliya at seven with his parents (his mother hails from Queens) and now works at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center.
Ezer Mizion enlisted some 62,000 samples in a countrywide drive in January to genetically test potential stem cell donors who might be a match for Amit and enable a lifesaving transplant. They joined more than 400,000 people already registered by Ezer Mizion.
Unfortunately, no donor was found here, but one was located in the US, and she is expected to spend up to six months in recovery at a North Carolina hospital after the operation.
"It's the first time I'm flying abroad," Amit, who loves animals and says she wants to be a veterinarian, told Yediot Aharonot last Wednesday before her flight. "I want to see the Statue of Liberty and meet new children. But the thing I most want is to be healthy."