Ezer Mizion and the ‘Jewish Olympics’ join together for the first time

Win a medal at the Maccabiah Games and give a sample of your bone marrow to save lives.

 A swimming venue at Kfar Maccabiah. (photo credit: FELICE FRIEDSON/THE MEDIA LINE)
A swimming venue at Kfar Maccabiah.
(photo credit: FELICE FRIEDSON/THE MEDIA LINE)

The National Database for Bone Marrow Donors established by the non-profit Ezer Mizion organization has taken advantage of the presence of 10,000 young sportsmen from 60 countries at the Maccabiah to collect samples and include them in its database

This effort is occurring for the first time in the history of the “Jewish Olympics.” The database is the largest collection of bone marrow samples in the world that has saved the lives of many Jews around the globe. To significantly increase the database and the variety of samples, this special collaboration is being held with the Maccabi World Union which organizes the games. 

The 21st Maccabiah, the largest sporting event of the Jewish people and the second largest in the world, will begin on Thursday at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem. It is usually held every four years but was not in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The goal is to significantly increase the pool of samples in the database, with the variety of countries from which Jewish athletes come enhancing the chances of saving the lives of many Jews around the world. Any sample received by the athletes during the games will be sent immediately to the testing labs, and if a match is later found between the athlete and the patient who needs it, Ezer Mizion will contact him or her to promote the transplant process.

The bone-marrow database was established in 1998, with the aim of helping cancer patients and patients with other serious diseases find a suitable bone marrow donor and thus save their lives. Every year, it receives thousands of search requests to locate donors for patients from transplant centers around the world. As a result, more than 4,400 life-saving transplants have been performed on patients in Israel and many other countries around the world.

 Amir Gissin, CEO of Maccabi World Union sits down to talk about the upcoming 21st Maccabiah Games with The Media Line's Felice Friedson. (credit: GIL MEZUMAN/THE MEDIA LINE) Amir Gissin, CEO of Maccabi World Union sits down to talk about the upcoming 21st Maccabiah Games with The Media Line's Felice Friedson. (credit: GIL MEZUMAN/THE MEDIA LINE)

A significant part of the database includes many samples from a variety of sectors in Israeli society – including from the Arab and Druse sectors. Donating bone marrow is a simple, life-saving procedure.

Statements

“We are constantly working to increase the bone-marrow database so that every Jew around the world can find a donor who can save his life," said Dr. Bracha Zisser, the database’s director. "Cooperation with the Maccabiah will significantly increase the number of samples, as we are sure that many athletes will be involved in this sacred and simple task of saving lives.”

Roy Hsing, the Maccabiah Games CEO, added: “We are proud of the significant cooperation with Ezer Mizion. As an international event. we have been given the privilege of harnessing our strength for a very important task and that is saving lives. All athletes who want to join this goal will be able to do so easily and enter the world’s largest bone-marrow pool.”

"Cooperation with the Maccabiah will significantly increase the number of samples, as we are sure that many athletes will be involved in this sacred and simple task of saving lives.”

Dr. Bracha Zisser

The Maccabiah will close in two weeks after the participation of tens of thousands of fans, tourists and the general public. There will also be numerous social events that offer a unique and unforgettable experience to participants, so all will have time to donate bone-marrow samples.