EP 935B - How You Can Give the Gift of Life

Summary: Learn how The Gift of Life Marrow Registry dramatically cuts transplant wait times for critically ill people and how you can become a potential donor.
Air Date: 3/26/19
Duration: 21:08
Host: Michael Roizen, MD
Guest Bio: Jay Feinberg, CEO and Founder of The Gift of Life Marrow Registry
A 23-year transplant survivor, Jay Feinberg is Gift of Life's founder and Chief Executive Officer. Jay was diagnosed with leukemia in 1991 and told that his only hope of a cure was a bone marrow transplant. With the support of his friends and family, Jay embarked on a groundbreaking international search for a matching donor. After organizing 250 drives and testing 60,000 potential donors, Jay's match turned out to be the very last donor tested at the very last drive. He received his transplant at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington in July 1995 thanks to his bone marrow donor, Becky Faibisoff.

Jay formerly served on the Board of Directors of the World Marrow Donor Association (WMDA) in the capacity of Secretary of North and South America. For years, he volunteered his time as an inspector for the WMDA's Accreditation Committee. Also, Jay is on the Editorial Board of Bone Marrow Donors Worldwide.

Jay received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. He has received numerous awards, including the prestigious Charles Bronfman Prize which recognizes dynamic leaders whose innovation and impact serve as inspiration for the future generations. Other notable honors include the National Marrow Donor Program's Allison Atlas Award and Hadassah International's Citizen of the World Award. Jay is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from Yeshiva University, received along with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In 2010, Jay received the Jewish Community Hero Award from the Jewish Federations of North America, a leadership award honoring those making strides to repair the world, starting in their own communities. In 2013, Jay was recognized in the Algemeiner Jewish 100 List-the top one hundred individuals who have positively influenced and lifted the quality of Jewish life over the past year.

Also in 2013, Jay was the recipient of the Maurice N. Eisendrath Bearer of Light Award from the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ). This award is the highest honor bestowed by the Reform Movement. Every two years at the URJ's Biennial, the Award is conferred for service to the world community and Reform Jewry. "It is people like Jay Feinberg who truly make our world a better place," said URJ President Rabbi Rick Jacobs. "Jay's tireless work has saved countless lives, and his actions follow in the footsteps of Reform social justice pioneers, such as Rabbi Eisendrath. The Talmud teaches that whoever saves a life, it is as if he has saved the entire world. Jay's work so truly embodies this teaching, and for that, we are abundantly grateful."

Jay shares this distinction with other notable luminaries including actor and Parkinsons advocate Michael J. Fox, Israeli diplomat and politician Abba Eban, former President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres OBM of Israel, former President Anwar Sadat of Egypt, United States Supreme Court Justice Arthur J. Goldberg and former White House Press Secretary James Brady and businessman and philanthropist Charles R. Bronfman.

In 2011, Jay was one of three non-profit leaders in South Florida to be awarded a scholarship to the Harvard Business School's executive education program "Strategic Perspectives in Non-Profit Management"-the flagship of the HBS Social Enterprise Program designed for top executives in the non-profit sector.

Jay has brought tremendous innovation to Gift of Life, including the use of cheek swabs for bloodless testing at donor drives, complete typing at initial recruitment, and most recently, Speed Swabbing technology. He has forged groundbreaking relationships with organizations including Hillel International, Taglit Birthright Israel, KEDMA, AEPi Fraternity, and more. He has also been responsible for negotiating partnerships with other registries, most notably the National Marrow Donor Program. His vision and subject matter expertise guides the strategic direction of the organization in conjunction with the Board of Directors.

Jay has been an invited guest at the White House during the past two presidential administrations, and travels regularly to speak on social justice and community activism, sharing his personal story and Gift of Life's grass roots efforts. Jay is proud to be an honorary brother of Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi).
EP 935B - How You Can Give the Gift of Life
When Jay Feinberg was diagnosed with leukemia in his 20s, he needed a bone marrow transplant to survive. After learning that none of his family members were good matches, his doctor searched a donor registry.

Still, he found no matches.

Even though his doctor told him to start preparing a bucket list, Feinberg knew there had to be a better way to find an appropriate donor.

Together with his friends, he tirelessly searched for matches, organizing 250 donation drives and testing 60,000 potential donors. They finally found a match—and 23 years later, Feinberg is still cancer-free.

This lengthy process inspired Feinberg to found The Gift of Life Marrow Registry. Tune in to learn more about this organization, like how it dramatically cuts transplant wait times for critically ill people and how you can become a potential donor.

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