Bone marrow donor found for boy with leukemia

A Hanukka miracle might have happened to Omri Attia.

omri attia (photo credit: Channel 10)
omri attia
(photo credit: Channel 10)
A Hanukka miracle might have happened to Omri Attia, a 13-year-old Holon boy diagnosed with leukemia 11 months ago. On Saturday night, Dr. Bracha Zisser, director of Ezer Mizion's National Bone Marrow Registry, told him and his parents that a compatible bone marrow donor had been identified among the 31,000 Israelis who gave blood samples almost three years ago. After his immune system is weakened by chemotherapy and the donated compatible bone marrow is infused into the boy, he should be able to live as a normal, healthy child with no more restrictions on his activities or threat of death. The family does not know the name of the potential donor, as revelation of his or her identity is prohibited for a year, after which the donor and recipient may meet. It is very rare for a compatible donor to be identified so soon, as this occurs in only about five percent of cases. But among the first 700 samples that were processed to determine their tissue type, six have already been found to have suitable tissue types to donate bone marrow to patients with cancer, including Omri. The overjoyed child said in an interview Sunday night with Channel 2 News that his family's prayers had been answered. "We danced," he said. After his recovery, he said, he looked forward to going fishing with his father, playing soccer, going to the mall and eating nuts and sunflower seeds - all risky behaviors today. He lit the Hanukka candles on TV and promised to return to the TV studio after he recovered.