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After 12 Years In The Bone Marrow Registry, Stem Cell Donor Helps Man Battling Leukemia

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In August, 2006, Martin Salama and 1,504 other people came to the Synagogue of West Deal, in New Jersey, with hope in their hearts. An appeal from the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Registry had gone out to try help save the life of 6 year old Stella Liniado A”H. Stella was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia and urgently needed a bone marrow transplant. In just a few days, more than 3,000 people where tested, but a match could not be found in time. Stella’s legacy is carried on by her family and the Stella Liniado Rainbow Foundation, an organization that continues to support Gift of Life advocate for donors to join the registry, and sponsors the Steps for Life 5k of New York City every year, among other events.
Martin remembers he understood the importance of being a donor. Twelve years later, in May 2018, his miracle call from Gift of Life finally came, “You may be able to save a 44 year old man who is battling leukemia,” he was told

“I was over the moon to be called as a match,” said Martin. “I knew I would donate either bone marrow or stem cells, whatever was needed. All that mattered to me was a man’s life could be saved. It only takes a few hours, and you don’t even need to have surgery or give up an organ, it’s an outpatient process.

With great excitement, Martin documented his journey on his Facebook page, encouraging others to join the registry as well. He also had great support from his family. One of his sisters, Nancy Sutton, started a medical referral service years ago that has now evolved into The Morris I. France Cancer Center in Brooklyn. The Center helps individuals through their medical journey as smoothly as possible, supporting them every step of the way

Martin was ready for his day of donation, arriving with a queue of videos on his laptop to binge-watch while his stem cells were being collected. A Gift of Life community engagement coordinator went with him to make sure he was taken care of. “It was very relaxing,” he said. “I am so lucky! I donated to help someone and hope I can meet him someday.

Martin plans to write a letter to his recipient, which he can do anonymously for the first year. Donors receive updates about their recipient several times, and after a year they can apply to meet their recipient if both parties agree.

“I want people to know how simple this is,” said Martin. “People think you have to be a hero to donate stem cells, but it’s so simple. Thank G-d we have such technology to save so many lives. No one should pass up this amazing opportunity.

Albert Liniado, founder of “The Stella Liniado Rainbow Foundation,” said, “So far we have tested over 7,000 people from our community, and 27 of them have donated their marrow and saved lives. This tested-to-match ratio is extremely high compared to the national statistics, which say of every 10,000 Americans tested they will only get one match. Albert believes this is because of the close-knit aspect of our community. The Foundation’s goal is to test 25,000 people. We must keep fighting this dreadful disease.

Gift of Life Bone Marrow Registry & SLRF believes every person battling blood cancer deserves a second chance at life—and they are determined to make it happen. They are passionate about engaging the public to help them get everyone involved, either as a donor, a volunteer, or a financial supporter. It all begins with one remarkable person, one life-changing swab, and one huge win—finding a match and a cure.

Facts
• Approximately every 3 minutes a person in the United States is diagnosed with a blood cancer.
• An estimated combined total of 174,250 people in the US are expected to be diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma in 2018.
• New cases of leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma are expected to account for 10% of the estimated 1,735,350 new cancer cases diagnosed in the US in 2018.

Stella Liniado Rainbow Foundation’s Mission & Goals
• Test & register over 25,000 people in our community ($100 each kit) to put a blanket of protection over all of us and our families.
• Implement bone marrow testing within our yeshivah high schools for young adults reaching the age of 18, as part of their high school curriculum.
• Educate about the simplicity of donating bone marrow and stem cells to help save a life.

Getting Tested—Easy as 1, 2, 3 and Free

  1. Cotton swab of the inside of check is taken for the DNA.
  2. Fill out name, date, email address and sign.
  3. Respond to email questionnaire about your health, in the privacy of your own home.
  4. 30 days later you will be entered into the National Bone Marrow Registry for life.
    Donors Must be between the ages of 18 and 50 and be in good health. You only need to be tested once.
    SLRF will test up to 10 people at any location, in the NY and NJ areas.
    For an appointment, contact Info@stellasrainbow.org.
    Please help support our cause!
    For dedications and/or sponsorship for the Stella Liniado Rainbow Sports Tournament in Deal, NJ every summer, or for the Guys Night Out event in Manhattan every summer, or for bone marrow testing kits, so donors can be tested for free at many of our bone marrow drives throughout the year, visit stellasrainbowfoundation.org/donate.html
    To donate a car, call 855-500-RIDE.

A Message from
Rabbi David Ashear :
We should feel so fortunate that we have organizations like the Stella Liniado Rainbow Foundation. Not only are they saving lives, they are giving us the opportunity to take part in it. Imagine that we were told that there was a whole family in grave danger, and if we had to do was donate some of our bone marrow or stem cells to save all of their lives—we would jump at the opportunity.
What if we were told that an entire congregation of 500 people were at risk and our bone marrow could save all of them. We would be thrilled to help. What if we were told that an entire city was in need of bone marrow or stem cells and we alone could save them all. t would most probably be considered our greatest accomplishment in life. Our Talmud says if we save even one life it is not equivalent to saving just one family, or even a whole city, rather Hashem considers it as if we saved the entire world. That’s 7 billion people! With a few minutes of our time we can be tested and enroll ourselves in the real Power Ball lottery, a chance to save the world!


Stella’s Story
Written April 16th 2007
By Stella’s Mommy
Where do I begin? April 28, 2000 was the most special day of our lives. A beautiful perfect child by the name of Stella was brought into this world. We all knew with a name like that she could only turn out to be an extraordinary and loving person, just like the woman she was named after, her Grandmother (Sitto) Stella.
This world for me had consisted of a house full of men. From the beginning, we knew that we had found our queen to our thrown.
Just like that, a house filled with baseball hats and dirty sneakers was consumed by pink, pink, pink. From bows to gingham to polka-dots, we couldn’t get enough of her. I finally had my own Barbie doll to dress up and play house with. Sometimes I would dress her up 6 times a day; I couldn’t get enough. Stella was my best friend, she was a 30 year old in a little girl’s body. From beauty to brains and an abundance of love, she had it all. She ruled our house, but most of all she ruled our world. We shared secretes and promises and lived through each other. As Stella grew so did our world of pink

Stella would dress her brothers and she told them when to eat, when to sleep, and if their homework wasn’t done she made sure I knew it.
Boy, she ran a tight ship. Stella kept growing more and more beautiful, inside and out; she taught me about love and life.
When she began school, the thought of letting her go out into the world frightened me. I wanted Stella with me all the time. My days became shorter always running home to make her bus and my morning routine changed. I would wake up extra early to workout and get home in time to dress her, do her hair, and put her on the bus. I had to be the last one to see her go and the first to see her come off the bus—I never missed a day. We were so attached, that Stella would refuse to go on play dates and to birthday parties unless I tagged along. Even in kindergarten, she would play sick just to go to the nurse’s office so she could call me to hear my voice. Our love was like no other. I could go on and on, but she was so special, there are not enough words invented to explain her

When Stella got sick, no one would ever have known it. She was not in pain, and if you saw her you would never believe it. Stella never complained! Through days of chemo, we would play and our bond became unbreakable. Even at over nights in the hospital we ate Marino ices and Tootsie Rolls, sometimes until midnight. We had our own pajama parties.
Stella’s nights with Dad at the hospital created a bond between father and daughter like no other, She was his princess, and he, her king. They were a match made in heaven

From art projects to pottery and mosaics, we did it all. Now I realize that doing it all was never enough.
All in all, life flies by. If I only had one more second, one more “I love you,” one more kiss, one more touch, one more, one more, one more. As Stella got better there was hope—we thought. Our visits to the hospital became fewer, but Hashem had different plans for Stella
At the bone marrow drive last summer, Stella attracted 6,000 people in two days, to be tested to help save her life

Now there are 6,000 more people in the registry that will save other lives. All because of Stella, from people in our community to strangers who saw her picture and wanted to save her life.
Well, Stella, they couldn’t help save your life, but you my baby will be saving the world for the rest of time. It’s funny, I didn’t want her to save the world. As a mother, my only thoughts were of saving Stella. But this was her plan. When Stella’s last days approached, we were in shock. Stella had a fever and an infection that made her doctors confused. Two days prior to that, she was being Stella, ruling the house, playing with the Wii, Playstation 3, and making cupcakes. Oh did I forget to mention I became a baker?
Visitors would stop by to play games with her, which she would always win. Everyone who met my Stella would fall in love with her, from strangers in restaurants and elevators, she was always noticed and asked her name

That was Stella, yet she never cared what people thought. She had Mommy, her best friend. With me by her side, we took on the world. Stella knew her life was the best. She had three brothers who adored her, and a father who was her Superman and made all her dreams come true.
Stella left us much too soon, but she never left me. I still have Stella. We all do, especially people who knew her, and the people who will learn that because of this little girl they have a second chance at life. Well Stella, I hope you are looking down at me. From the rainbows you sent us on our kitchen floor to all the love letters she wrote me when I would run on errands. What a gift I had—love letters from my daughter just because I left the house for 20 minutes.

Stella would also text message me, “I love you” from her pink Razor phone, while we were next to one another in bed. I will never, ever, be able to tell you what I had

So this is a brief story about our beautiful Stella. We hope that somewhere over the rainbow Stella sees us and blows us kisses like snowflakes. So please come visit Stella’s rainbow any time, and help us fight our biggest fight ever. Stella, we love you. You are our rainbow and our star that will shine forever in our hearts.q


Stella’s Story
Written April 16th 2007
By Stella’s Mommy
Where do I begin? April 28, 2000 was the most special day of our lives. A beautiful perfect child by the name of Stella was brought into this world. We all knew with a name like that she could only turn out to be an extraordinary and loving person, just like the woman she was named after, her Grandmother (Sitto) Stella.
This world for me had consisted of a house full of men. From the beginning, we knew that we had found our queen to our thrown.
Just like that, a house filled with baseball hats and dirty sneakers was consumed by pink, pink, pink. From bows to gingham to polka-dots, we couldn’t get enough of her. I finally had my own Barbie doll to dress up and play house with. Sometimes I would dress her up 6 times a day; I couldn’t get enough. Stella was my best friend, she was a 30 year old in a little girl’s body. From beauty to brains and an abundance of love, she had it all. She ruled our house, but most of all she ruled our world. We shared secretes and promises and lived through each other. As Stella grew so did our world of pink.
Stella would dress her brothers and she told them when to eat, when to sleep, and if their homework wasn’t done she made sure I knew it.
Boy, she ran a tight ship. Stella kept growing more and more beautiful, inside and out; she taught me about love and life.
When she began school, the thought of letting her go out into the world frightened me. I wanted Stella with me all the time. My days became shorter always running home to make her bus and my morning routine changed. I would wake up extra early to workout and get home in time to dress her, do her hair, and put her on the bus. I had to be the last one to see her go and the first to see her come off the bus—I never missed a day. We were so attached, that Stella would refuse to go on play dates and to birthday parties unless I tagged along. Even in kindergarten, she would play sick just to go to the nurse’s office so she could call me to hear my voice. Our love was like no other. I could go on and on, but she was so special, there are not enough words invented to explain her.
When Stella got sick, no one would ever have known it. She was not in pain, and if you saw her you would never believe it. Stella never complained! Through days of chemo, we would play and our bond became unbreakable. Even at over nights in the hospital we ate Marino ices and Tootsie Rolls, sometimes until midnight. We had our own pajama parties.
Stella’s nights with Dad at the hospital created a bond between father and daughter like no other, She was his princess, and he, her king. They were a match made in heaven!
From art projects to pottery and mosaics, we did it all. Now I realize that doing it all was never enough.
All in all, life flies by. If I only had one more second, one more “I love you,” one more kiss, one more touch, one more, one more, one more. As Stella got better there was hope—we thought. Our visits to the hospital became fewer, but Hashem had different plans for Stella
At the bone marrow drive last summer, Stella attracted 6,000 people in two days, to be tested to help save her life.
Now there are 6,000 more people in the registry that will save other lives. All because of Stella, from people in our community to strangers who saw her picture and wanted to save her life.
Well, Stella, they couldn’t help save your life, but you my baby will be saving the world for the rest of time. It’s funny, I didn’t want her to save the world. As a mother, my only thoughts were of saving Stella. But this was her plan. When Stella’s last days approached, we were in shock. Stella had a fever and an infection that made her doctors confused. Two days prior to that, she was being Stella, ruling the house, playing with the Wii, Playstation 3, and making cupcakes. Oh did I forget to mention I became a baker?
Visitors would stop by to play games with her, which she would always win. Everyone who met my Stella would fall in love with her, from strangers in restaurants and elevators, she was always noticed and asked her name.
That was Stella, yet she never cared what people thought. She had Mommy, her best friend. With me by her side, we took on the world. Stella knew her life was the best. She had three brothers who adored her, and a father who was her Superman and made all her dreams come true.
Stella left us much too soon, but she never left me. I still have Stella. We all do, especially people who knew her, and the people who will learn that because of this little girl they have a second chance at life. Well Stella, I hope you are looking down at me. From the rainbows you sent us on our kitchen floor to all the love letters she wrote me when I would run on errands. What a gift I had—love letters from my daughter just because I left the house for 20 minutes.

Stella would also text message me, “I love you” from her pink Razor phone, while we were next to one another in bed. I will never, ever, be able to tell you what I had

So this is a brief story about our beautiful Stella. We hope that somewhere over the rainbow Stella sees us and blows us kisses like snowflakes. So please come visit Stella’s rainbow any time, and help us fight our biggest fight ever. Stella, we love you. You are our rainbow and our star that will shine forever in our hearts.