NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – When we say gift of life, we usually think of organ donation.
There’s another, much easier way to give the gift of life through bone marrow or stem cell donation, reports CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez.
Now during the Festival of Lights, a young Jewish family wants people to know how that gift saved their son’s life.
You would never know it looking at 6-year-old Idan Zablocki playing with his mom and baby sister, but Idan was born with a lethal immune system defect.
“He couldn’t make antibodies and he got a very rare pneumonia,” said Akiva, Idan’s father.
“Terrifying, we were told he had a 50 percent chance of dying,” said mother Amanda.
Idan survived his pneumonia but the only cure for his immune deficit was a bone marrow transplant. His first at age 2 failed.
He then got another from a young college student who had gotten swabbed to get matched and enter the Gift of Life bone marrow registry.
The second transplant worked, but Idan said he was pretty sick in the hospital.
“I felt very bad,” he said, but it soon proved worth the pain when he found out he could go to a regular school.
Now the Zablocki family has teamed with the Gift of Life registry to get people to make an online menorah, to remind friends and family how easy it is to give.
“It’s not a big deal, it’s more like giving blood or platelets,” said the organization’s Nicholas Hudson.
Mom and dad now have a healthy, happy boy who’s been cured thanks to a bone marrow donor, especially meaningful during this season.
“This holiday we celebrate the miracle of Chanukah, well, we have our own miracle,” said Amanda.