05 May 2011

DNA: Do you hold the Gift of Life?

In the past, Tracing the Tribe has written about the Gift of Life Foundation, which attempts to match donors of bone marrow with patients who need a life-saving match.

The best matches are often from those individuals who are genetically related. But only rarely do the families  looking for potential donors post the relevant geographical areas or surnames.

There is now a call for a bone marrow match for a New Jersey toddler, age 2. Fortunately, his grandmother - Karen Lefkowitz - is a long-time genealogist (her JewishGen researcher number has only four digits!).

She understands the need for ancestral information as tissue type is inherited. The best chance of finding a donor for her grandson lies with those of Eastern.European ancestry, particularly Polish and Hungarian.

Here are the towns and surnames associated with the child's ancestry:


Poland: Stopnica area: BORKENSZTAJN, ZISSER, SUSSER, KAFEL, LINDER; Tarnow and Szczucin area: SUSSER; Bialystok, Trzcianne, Goniadz area: BLACHER, PERLIS, BALABUS, BLOCK, LEVIN, DUDINSKY, GEDRES, COHEN; Nowogrod and Dobrylas area: LEFOWITZ (LEFKOWITZ), KIEK or KIJEK, COHEN, RUDZKA; Przasnysz: BLANK, MONKAR, MAKA


Ukraine: Zhitomir: MEISENBERG, TAUB; Chermerivtsi: GREENBERG

Hungary: Elmialfulva (Endrefalva or Ermihalyfalva?): KLEIN; Eger: BRAUN; Szikeoy (Cejkov?): BRIER; Balaton (Veladin?): BRAUN

Lithuania: Vilnus: VERSHOFSKY, BAUSC

If these places or surnames are familiar, here's how you can help. Even if the names or places are not familiar, consider testing and joining the bone marrow registry so that others may receive the Gift of Life.

-- Potential donors must be age 18-60 and in general good health to join the registry.

-- Cheek swab test kits can be ordered online through Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation. Or find a bone marrow drive near you.

-- If you are above age 60, encourage family members and friends to join the registry.

-- If you live outside of the United States and Canada, send an email for more information.

-- For more information, click here or send an email.

--Shayne Pilpel is this project's Gift of Life coordinator and will be happy to answer questions about the Foundation.

Check the list of towns and names again. Do you know someone with those surnames from those areas? If so, ask them to get involved and join the registry.

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