“There hasn’t been a full match found, but we are not stopping until we find one – and we will find one,” said Claudia Foltyn (nee Milunsky).
It follows an urgent appeal to the global Jewish community for a potential lifesaving stem cell donor for her husband, Murray Foltyn, who has been diagnosed with a rare blood cancer.
Murray, 41, requires a stem cell transplant from someone with a matching tissue type, and so the family have issued a call-out for anyone who shares his Jewish Ashkenazi background and has Czech or Russian ancestors. His heritage is also traced to Illford in England, and the villages of Halmesh or Jablonec just outside of Trnava (today part of Slovakia) or Morava Ostrava (today close to the border of Poland).
A simple cheek swab for young Jewish people between the ages of 18-35 is all it takes to get on the worldwide bone marrow registry.
“The only thing we can be doing is adding people of the same ethnic background to that worldwide registry, because everything else is out of our control,” Claudia told The AJN.
“We want to make sure that every time they are checking that registry, there are more names on it. It doesn’t matter what country they come from, we can access them.
“We can only hope and pray that one of those names being added is a match for Murray.
“The side mitzvah is that more people need to be on that registry because you just never know if you’ll be the situation where you need it. Yes, Murray needs it now, but the world needs it and that’s also what we’re doing.”
Wolper Jewish Hospital in Sydney’s eastern suburbs have been given permission to do another drive this month. Ordinarily, they only do one drive a month and cap it at 25 people, but they have already tested 40 people this month and have agreed to test a further 40 people.
Claudia has been overwhelmed by the reach her initial social media post has had, with Jewish communities across the world jumping on her campaign to get tested.
“The word has spread so far and wide, it’s actually amazing,” she said.
“The more people we add, the more people we can look at as a potential match.”
For more information about getting tested visit lifeblood.com.au/
For information regarding testing at Wolper Jewish Hopsital, fill out the Gift of Life survey.
Around the world
A match in another country is just as good as a match in Australia, so please get tested and pass the links on.
There are key donor drives happening in the US via Gift of Life. For more information, visit giftoflife.org/swab
Otherwise, it’s a simple cheek swab. Visit my.bethematch.org/s/join
United Kingdom – dkms.org.uk/get-involved/become-a-donor
Israel – ami.org.il/
South Africa – sabmr.co.za/
Slovakia – swabtheworld.com/en/country/slovak-republic
Russia – swabtheworld.com/en/country/russia
Everywhere else – swabtheworld.com/en/become-a-donor