An Orthodox Gift of Life

16 Jun 2015

imagesLeukemia had almost killed Leya Parker, a 48-year-old mother of four from Florida.

“You have no idea (how hard it is) when your brother tells you you’re 10 days away from dying, your doctors tell you you have the worst form of leukemia anyone could ask for at your age, and you need a transplant in order to survive,” Parker recalled.

But then she found her stem cell match: a Jewish 26-year-old finance executive from Manhattan named Jonathan Struhl. The Daily News reports that the two met in person for the first time at the Gift of Life Bone Marrow gala on June 11 at the Grant Hyatt in Manhattan. The Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation is a public bone marrow and blood cell registry that was created by Jay Feinberg in 1991. The organization popularized donations through the use of cheek swabs to check for matching donors.

Struhl, who is Orthodox, grew up in Boca Raton and graduated from Yeshiva University’s Syms School of Business.

“My Orthodox background definitely helped make my decision a lot easier,” he told “It was actually pretty simple: I was always taught that giving to others is the key pillar of Judaism. It’s what I was raised on and learned throughout my life, so it was obvious I was going to go through with the donation.”

Read the full story from The Daily News here.

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.