Ethical Issue, Leukemia (AML) & the Austro-Hungarian Empire: Mezokeresztes & Khust #general
I received a note >from my high school alumni association (Yeshiva of
Flatbush - Brooklyn) that a fellow alumna has recently been diagnosed with
Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML). His parents came >from shtetlach that had
been part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire: his mother >from Mezokeresztes**
and his father >from Khust**. It got me thinking.
AML is a very serious cancer whose treatment is via bone marrow transplant.
I am aware that there is a higher probability of finding a successful donor
match among folks with common ancestry. I am also aware that in the course
of work I have been doing for another researcher >from one of my ancestral
towns, Rawa Ruska, I found that we had ancestors who were married and had
children together almost 200 years ago. Thus, the totality of their current
living descendants are as yet unknown to me but they are my "relatives" and
contain some amount of similar genetic material to mine. I assume that the
DNA researchers could tell us the amount, by generation.
Putting these two together made me realize that it is possible that in
addition to finding the names of our ancestors and in addition to finding
out more about their lives, in addition to finding out more about their
shtetlach, in addition to cleaning up their cemeteries & collecting the
remaining pieces of matzavot (gravestones) >from around the towns, in
addition to putting up memorials to lost communities, we might also be able
to offer folks - distant, distant as-yet-unknown relatives, right now! - the
gift of life merely by doing the simple act of registering with a bone
The question then arises: do we have an ethical responsibility as Jewish
genealogists to register? After all, it is a Jewish obligation to save a
life if we can and in this case, we actually might be able to. The world of
donor matching is so challenging, AND there is a higher probability of
matches being made among relatives. Thus, I personally think that as Jewish
genealogists we do have this as an ethical obligation.
A call went out in '08 for registration to aid a young girl whose family
came >from Rawa Ruska and so I did, without pondering the ethical aspects. At
this time, I want to encourage all genealogists to do likewise. If money is
a problem, there is always some family willing to financially back it. I'm
always willing to help anyone figure out how to join a registry.
In the particular case of my fellow alumni, if you have any ancestors >from
either of those towns or within a hundred mile radius and are willing to
register, please contact me and I will forward the notes to my fellow
alumni, whose e-mail address cannot be posted by jewishgen listserve rules.
Another possibility is that you contact the Gift of Life website at
aka Gitel Chaye Eta Rosenfeld Rokart
** According to Alex Sharon, the towns are as follows:
(1) Mezokeresztes at 4759 2025, Hungary, some 78 miles NE >from the capital
city Budapest, at 4750 2924 near Mezokovesd and Eger.
(2) Khust is located in the Trancarpathian of Western Ukraine. Prior to WWII
town was located within the Czechoslovakian border, and was known as Chust,
and prior to WWI town was with Austro-Hungarian Empire and was known as
Huszt, Maramaros county in Hungarian. The geographical coordinates are:
4811 2318 (Khust, Ukraine)