I don't remember if anyone mentioned it here before, but Michael 
Brecker is seriously ill. He needs a donor for a transplant. Here's 
his wife's letter about it :
Thanks for your attention

A Letter From Susan Brecker:
Please send this to as many people as you know.

  Dear Family and Friends,

  My husband, Michael Brecker, has been diagnosed with MDS (myelodysplastic
  syndrome) and it's critical that he has a bone marrow or blood stem 
cell transplant
  (which has nothing to do with embryonic stem cells). The initial 
search for a donor,
  including Michael's siblings and children, has not resulted in a 
suitable match.
  We now hope to have as many people tested as possible that share a similar
  genetic background as my husband. There are some important points to
  understand concerning this process:

1. The screening involves only a blood test. It can be done very 
easily at a donor
  center of the National Marrow Donor Program [NMDP]. The blood test identifies
  your HLA tissue type. The cost for the test is generally $40 to $95 
depending on
  the donor center and the lab that completes the test. After this 
initial testing all
  medical expenses are paid for by the patient or the patient's insurance. Go to
www.marrow.org or call 1-800-MARROW-2 to find the donor center nearest you.
  In NYC, you can make an appointment with Frazier at the NY Blood Bank
  [212-570-3441 / 310 East 67th Street]. The test is $40. If it's 
difficult to make
  it to a blood center, private kits are available from Tepnel Life 
Codes [800-915-3695].
  Order the "HLA [A][B][DR]" kit for $140. You will need to have a small vial of
  blood drawn. Indicate to Tepnel that your test is for "Michael 
Brecker" and they
  will know to whom to forward your results.

2. As a volunteer donor, you are never legally obligated to donate. A 
late decision
  not to donate, however, can be life-threatening to a patient and 
among the most
  disheartening news a family can ever receive. Consider your decision to be a
  donor carefully. Thanks.

3. Should you be selected as a potential donor for Michael or any 
other patient,
  please understand that there have been tremendous advances in "bone marrow
  transplants" and the term itself can be misleading. At major cancer 
centers, blood
  stem cells can, in nearly all instances, be harvested directly from 
your blood. A
  donor is simply connected to a machine that separates the needed cells before
  the donor's blood reenters his/her system. On occasion such cells may have to
  be harvested directly from your bone marrow. All the necessary precautions are
  taken to ensure the donor's well-being and safety. In the event 
you're asked to
  donate blood stem cells, a volunteer will first receive a thorough physical
  examination-at no cost to him or herself.

4. A match for Michael would be most likely come from those of Eastern European
  Jewish descent. If you or anyone you know are in this category please make a
  special effort to immediately get tested. Please also note that 
testing is free for
  minority groups at NMDP blood centers. Ultimately, you would be 
doing something
  not just for Michael, but for so many more who are in a similar 
situation as my husband.

5. You are now part of our internet-based drive for donor testing. If 
everyone who
  receives this email can motivate a bunch of their friends to get 
tested, and those
  friends then forward the email to get their friends to get tested, 
we will have rapidly
  expanded the pool of potential donors. I urge all of you to get tested

  Finally, any local National Marrow Donor Program donor center can assist in
  organizing a drive for Michael, although it would be desirable if 
you can get a
  large group, e.g. a synagogue, to sponsor it. The "Gift of Life," an 
  whose mission is to increase the representation of the Jewish people 
in the bone
  marrow donor pool will test you for free when part of a donor drive 
organized through
  "Gift of Life." For further information call 561.988.0100 
  There exist other organizations that have a similar mission for 
African Americans,
  Asians, Hispanics, etc. Whatever your roots, please get tested to 
assist others!
  Should you have any questions about any of this, do not hesitate to 
get in touch
  with Michael's management office at 212.302.9200 or [EMAIL PROTECTED]
  Thank you so much for your love and support. We are so grateful.

  Susan ox

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