Donor pays it forward

Banker donates marrow


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After donating bone marrow, Michael Levin was inspired

Michael Levin, a father of three and investment banker, wants Toronto to know how easy it is to save a life.

He recently embarked on a journey that led him to help promote a bone marrow drive at Bialik Hebrew Day School in Forest Hill and Aish Thornhill Community Shul. In January, Levin received a call informing him that he was a potential match for a 65-year-old woman in the United States who was in need of new bone marrow. Levin had been tested as a potential match eight years ago and had almost forgotten before that call.

Levin and his wife, Melissa, flew to New York City for the procedure to help save the life of a woman whom he had never met. He was surprised at how non-invasive and easy the procedure was. “I think most people, including myself, were of the view that in order to donate your bone marrow it requires surgery,” said Levine. “I was very pleasantly surprised about the process.”

Upon his return home, Levin called Gift of Life, the organization that had contacted him, wanting to know how he could continue to help. He was connected to the father of Jayden Roll, a four-year-old Montreal girl recently diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and in need of new marrow. Roll’s father helped Levin get involved in promoting the recent drives.

Combined, 2,335 people in Toronto and Thornhill were swabbed at the drives. Levin emphasized that even if donors aren’t potential matches for Jayden, they can still help someone in need. “People should know that when they get swabbed, even if they’re not a match for Jayden, they’re helping to build a base.” Those who missed the drives can help by joining OneMatch, a stem cell and marrow network through the Canadian Blood Services.

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