Record-Breaking Blood-Donating Family Continues Giving
A New York family that broke the record last year for most blood donations - 47 pints - returned again this week and gave another 36. Giving blood is on the itineraries of increasingly more tourist groups to Israel.
The Mashadi family, visiting from New York last summer, took a day off from its touring to donate no fewer than 47 pints of blood. Family members said they were happy to "help save lives in Israel," and hoped other families will break their record.
Little did they realize how important their efforts would turn out to be; the Second Lebanon War broke out just three days later.
When the Mashadi family arrived last year, they asked American Friends of Magen David Adom (AFMDA) to open a special blood donation station in the Herods Vitalis Spa Hotel in Eilat, where they were staying, to facilitate the one-family blood drive. A mobile blood bank from Be'er Sheva was sent down south, together with special beds, and for several hours, the hotel's conference room took on the look of a hospital wing. No fewer than 47 uncles, aunts, and family members of all ages (above age 18) took part in the unforgettable event.
The Mashadi family moved from Iran to the United States several years ago, and most of the adult members were born and raised in Iran. "We are proud to hold the record for one-family blood donations," said Danny Namdar, "but we also hope that others will try to break this record. We want Israel to profit from American tourists' blood donations."
AFMDA has organized or helped out in similar family and tour-group blood drives in the past, but no one had ever reached the 47 mark before - or since.
Jonathan Feldstein, AFMDA's representative in Israel, praised the family for "raising the bar of donations, setting new standards in helping others and serving as an example for others." He said that over the past year or more, he has been organizing such groups, and the response has been impressive. "Just this week, we had a 45-member group from the Princeton Jewish Center in New Jersey, which gave 12 units of blood. This is an impressive number, considering that many of them were children, underweight, taking medicine, and the like... Yeshivat Aish HaTorah has already said it wants to arrange four such groups in the coming weeks."
Tour organizers who wish to arrange a blood drive with Feldstein can contact him at +972-57-761-4220, or by email at email@example.com.
Magen David Adom is Israel's "second line of defense," promotional literature states, providing all the emergency medical services in times of war and peace. Founded in 1930 as a one-room emergency service in Tel Aviv, it grew slowly until 1936, when it expanded to become a national organization. In 1950, the Knesset ratified the Magen David Adom Law, charging the MDA with the following responsibilities:
- to provide supplementary medical services to the Army Medical Corps in times of war
- to provide civilian support, medical and first aid services in emergency situations
- to maintain a blood bank for civilian use
The need for blood in Israel is between 1,000 and 1,200 pints each day, and several days of reserves are generally desired. At present, some 650 pints of Type-O blood - the most important type, as it can be used in times of emergency even for Type A, B, and AB patients - are available. Prof. Shinar said this is just barely acceptable; "the optimal situation would be if we had about 800."