Stephen Colman is part of a special group. In fact, 140 kidney donors spent this past Sabbath together, in what can be called a meeting of generous people who have literally given of themselves in order to save the life of a stranger.

The event was held in the Ramada Renaissance Hotel in Jerusalem by the Gift of Life Foundation and its founder, Rabbi Yeshayahu Heber, who was galvanized by his own experience as a dialysis patient who had to leave his job in education due to his kidney disease. The Gift of Life Foundation works to encourage organ donation in order to end the phenomenon of waiting lists for badly needed organs in Israel.

During the event, medical professionals and donors held discussions on ways to increase awareness of the importance of organ donation and to improve the process of organ donations in the instances when living people can donate.

Among the participants at the event were Professor Aaron Hoffman, the Director of the Department of Vascular Surgery and Transplantation at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, and Professor Eitan Yefe Nof,the head of the Kidney Transplant and Cancer Research at Hadassah Ein Kerem. After the conclusion of the Sabbath, the donors gathered for a photograph of 140 people who only have one kidney each.

Rabbi Yeshayahu Heber said: "When we began eight years ago, I set myself a goal to make Israel the first country in the world where the waiting list is reversed, where there are are more people who want to donate a kidney from their bodies in order to save a life than people waiting to receive kidney transplants. Indeed, this proves that we're on the right track and that thanks to the participation from the general public we will be able, with God's help, to [continue to] save lives."

The donors discussed among themselves the feeling they had when they met someone whose life was saved by a donated organ, and the realization they had saved another's life.

The Gift of Life Foundation has aided 405 people in donating a kidney to date. There are approximately 6,000 people on kidney dialysis in Israel today, of which between 800-1,200 are waiting to receive a donated kidney.

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