One hundred and two people stood on the stage at a ballroom in the Grand Hyatt hotel in Manhattan last week, during a break in the dinner marking the 20th anniversary of the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation. The foundation, which concentrates its work in the Jewish community, serves as a registry for life-saving donations of bone marrow, blood stem cells and umbilical cord blood.
Of the men and women in the photograph, 94 are donors or recipients; the other eight are foundation board members.
Nearly 700 people — including donor-recipient pairs, family and friends, and other supporters — attended the dinner.
Some people, when they walked in, asked why a box of tissues had been placed on each table, said Jay Feinberg, the foundation’s founder and executive director. After the donors and recipients, who had been barred (by federal law) from meeting each other for a year after the transplant, told their emotional stories, no one asked why the tissues, said Feinberg, who had leukemia and underwent a successful bone marrow transplant in 1995.Three pairs were brought together for the first time at last week’s Partner for Life Gala.“It was amazing. It was a celebration of life,” said Feinberg, who stands with his donor, Becky Keller, right.
M. Evan Moretzky, a recipient, presents a bouquet of flowers to his donor, Shira Landskroner-Eiger, below.According to giftoflife.org, the foundation has facilitated 2,322 transplants, and has 184,563 registered donors.