MY KIDNEY DONATION
By: Yocheved Golani
Date: Friday, August 12 2011
Marci Rapp finessed the setbacks with class. She rearranged her business priorities as creator and CEO of MarSea Modest Swimwear and gym clothes with her husband/business partner, Harold, in order to remain on standby as a kidney donor. Her intended recipient had been rescheduled to receive that vitally necessary organ several times. Recurring illness delayed the surgery throughout May and June 2011. On June 14th the life-saving surgery took place.
"The truth is that I was so sore the first week. I've been so busy, despite recuperating, Baruch Hashem," Marci says. "It is our summer season and I had the surgery at the worst time possible for our business. However, it seems to have worked in reverse, as people have dafka come to us because of the donation."
Less than a week after the life-saving surgery, Marci left her home in Katamon, Israel and spoke before an audience of the Americans and Canadians in Israel (AACI) branch in Netanya on Sunday June 19th. Among other comments she shared is the thought that, "We definitely need to make Kidney Donation 101 easier for Anglo olim. Some don't speak Hebrew easily. Others don't know how to be involved in the kidney donation process." She coaxed audience members to " please contact me or KidneyMitzvah@aol.com if you wish to make an altruistic kidney donation." It's a message that Marci shares on listservs and in live conversations, too.
"I have a lot of hashgacha pratit stories that have come out of all this," Marci smiles. "Judith is an olahfrom Scotland who now lives in Rehovot. I met her in my quest to become a kidney donor. She introduced us to fascinating people.
"My family and I recently shared a BBQ - actually a seudat hoda'a - with my recipient in her home in the Shomron. That outing included a tour of Shilo with one of her relatives, Yossi, who is a tour guide. His book about the Binyamin Region is well known in Israel. We spent a Shabbat in Maaleh Levona where Yossi owns atzimmer, a guest house that he built into the hills with a vineyard below. It's a retreat where couples can heal and/or reconnect. I'd never heard of Maaleh Levona before this. I never would have met these wonderful people if I hadn't been available to donate my kidney. We even connected to supermarket magnate Rami Levy. The daughter of my kidney recipient works for him. Rami now sells MarSea Modest Swimwear and gym clothes in his Yafiz clothing store.
"It turns out Yossi had been the tour guide for a Bar Mitzvah tour we'd shared with other guests in 1995. My husband Harold and Yossi recognized each other on this journey in 2011. Maaleh Levona has a shul dedicated to the memory of Avrom Silver, the host who'd brought us to Israel on that 1995 tour. Avrom died the summer of 1996, at age 42."
A Nefesh B'Nefesh 2008 olah from Toronto, Marci remains busy moderating her listserv for vendors, selling modest swimwear and caring for her family. She alerts everyone she can to the opportunity of saving a Jewish life, saying "You can become a live kidney donor in Israel if you contact Israeli kidney shadchanit Chaya Lipschutz via e-mail at KidneyMitzvah@aol.com or by phone 917-627-8336. You can also call Rav Isaiah Heber 050-411-7014 or access www.KidneyMitzvah.com."
Here's a brief look at Israelis urgently seeking kidney donors:
- 33 year old father with high antibodies, complicating the search for a match
- 25 year old man who served in the IDF
- 24 year old with very high antibodies and perhaps a 7% chance of finding a match
- 47 year old mother raised on a kibbutz, daughter of a Holocaust survivor
- 57 year old father
Here is what a few rabanim and doctors say about kidney donations:
"Fortunate is the lot of all (kidney) donors - Hashem will surely reward
them, bring good health to them, their children and their children's children, for all eternity" - Rabbi Yisrael Belsky, Rosh Yeshiva, Yeshiva Torah V'daas, Brooklyn, NY
"The zechut, the merit, of this mitzvah, of donating a kidney, will stand
by the donor, insuring that he be blessed from heaven with a long life,
years of good life, full of simcha, suffering from neither harm nor loss."
- Rabbi Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz, z"tl former Rosh Yeshiva Ponevezh Yeshiva, Bnei Brak, Motetzes Gedolei HaTorah of Degel HaTorah
"Just think people have no problem having only one kidney, so we have to
ask, why did Hashem give us two kidneys? Perhaps it is so you would have an
extra one to donate and save a life! - Dr. Stuart Greenstein, Kidney Transplant Surgeon, Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY
Kidney donation is a relatively safe operation. Many donors will
never feel the loss of their second kidney. So giving up a kidney causes no
disadvantage to your long-term health. In fact, studies have shown, that
Kidney donors actually live longer than the general population - because donors come from a pool of people in good health." - Dr. Michael Edye, Adjunct Associate Professor of surgery, Mt. Sinai Medical Center, New York, NY
Marci can be reached at 050-424-8359 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
Copyright ©2011 JewishPress.com.
Original Article -
It’s been seven months of medical exams, blood tests and false starts, but if all goes according to plan, some time in the next few weeks Toronto oleh Marci Rapp will be wheeled into the operating room of the Beilinson Hospital in Petach Tikvah and donate one of her kidneys to a complete stranger.
It’s considered an “altruistic donation,” though she’s not a complete stranger with the recipient any more. Over the course of the seven month marathon, Rapp has gotten to know the 48-year-old mother of six and her family quite well.
It turns out that like herself, the recipient is an immigrant from Canada, having made the move some 30 years ago from Montreal. Although she won’t release the woman’s full name, she asks well-wishers to pray for the recovery of Shulamit Shoshana bat Ronia and for her (Masha bat Shoshana) as well.
In a telephone interview from Israel, where she runs a swimwear business, Rapp said a few years ago she had no idea that organ donations were even permitted in Judaism.
But a confluence of incidents brought her to the brink of the momentous event.
Scanning her e-mail one day, she came across a message from Chaya Lipschutz, an American kidney donor who has taken it upon herself to solicit donations for Jews in need. Around the same time last summer, Rapp came across an article in an Aish HaTorah e-magazine in which Lori Palatnik, an American, wrote about her organ donation as a “kidney mitzvah.”
Then she learned that Leah Golomb, the woman who’d been leading a weekly shiur, or Torah lesson, for the three years Rapp has been in Israel, scrambled to raise $100,000 to fly to South Africa to receive a donated kidney.
The stories inspired her. “I respect her,” she said of Golomb. “I look, up to her as I do to Palatnik. These are religious women and they’re saying it’s okay to do it.”
The more she considered it, the more she became convinced it was the right thing to do. Now, she looks at the surgery “as a very spiritual thing for me. I feel God gave me a healthy body so I could do this.”
Lipschutz put her in touch with Rabbi Avraham Heber in Israel, a kidney recipient who founded Matnat Chaim – Gift of Life. He helped locate a 42-year-old mother of nine who urgently needed a donation. During that time, she met the woman and her mother, who took charge of the process and would arrange early morning pickups at her home in Jerusalem to take her for tests in Petach Tikvah.
It turned out the family suffered from a genetic disorder that affected the kidneys. The mother had already donated one kidney to her son, but both her daughters likewise needed kidneys. Another oleh, Judith, who asked her last name not be used, immigrated from Scotland, and was found to provide the 42-year-old with a kidney. That operation was concluded successfully right around Passover. Rapp, it turned out, was well suited to the older sister as well.
Going through the process, she and Judith became fast friends, discussing their decisions and weighing the spiritual and medical issues they faced. Rapp learned that donors statistically don’t have their lives shortened nor is their health affected after recovering.
Most religious donors, Rapp said, “feel God gave us two kidneys to donate one and save a life.”
“I’m 57-years-old and despite my aches and pains, I’m considered healthy to do this. I see it as a sign that that’s what I’ve been put on this earth to do.
“To save a life. I find that awesome.”
Her husband, Harold, “has been pareve (neutral) on this, as has Judith’s husband. They’re worried about our health and loss of income, but they didn’t say no.”
Making the decision easier for her was the rapport she developed with the recipient. “We feel very strongly that we’re fortunate the recipient is English-speaking, religious and a former Canadian.
“That’s important for me, there was a connection and we understood each other. We’re in the same world.”
Rapp said she and Judith have spotted weaknesses in the Israeli medical system. They would like to see the entire process speeded up from seven months to two or three and the postponements eliminated – she’s been told several times to be ready to donate, only to be informed the operation had to be delayed. They’d also like to see it become easier for English speakers to donate.
For more information, contact Rapp at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.kidneymitzvah.com or contact Rav Heber in Israel .050-411-7014