IDF Sgt. Idan Ducach got the unique opportunity to save a life when his bone marrow donation turned out to be compatible to a young boy. He shares his story with us:
My name is Sgt. Idan Ducach, and I’m a 21 year old commander in the Israel Defense Forces. When I enlisted to the IDF, I gave a blood sample and entered a bone marrow database collected by the Ezer Mizion organization. I didn’t fully understand what it meant to enter the database, but I was told it couldn’t hurt, so I did it.
I continued with my military service, and during my commanders’ course I was notified that my bone marrow was a match for someone who needed it on order to live. After talking to my family and friends about the procedure, I realized that I had the opportunity to save someone’s life. In August 2011, I was admitted to a hospital in Israel and donated my bone marrow. At the same time, unknown to me, a boy was lying in a hospital bed in the United States, waiting for my donation.
Six months later, when I was back on active duty in the IDF, I received an anonymous letter from the boy who received my bone marrow. He told me that he felt much better, thanked me and proposed that we meet sometime.
One year after that, in August 2012, I received a phone call from Ezer Mizion, the foundation that collects the blood samples for bone marrow donations. The person on the call asked me if I wanted to meet the boy, whose name was Alex. I immediately said yes. After receiving clearance from the IDF to travel abroad, I flew to New York in September.
Alex and I were scheduled to meet at a convention that was held to raise awareness about bone marrow transplants. It was a huge event. I was very excited, I couldn’t wait to see Alex and his family. When the producer gave me my cue, I walked on stage and immediately hugged Alex.
“How are you?” was the first thing that came out of my mouth. He then thanked me and said with great excitement: “You saved my life!”
After the convention, I spoke with the family, and I was glad to see that there are many similarities between Alex and me. We have the same number of siblings, our fathers practice medicine, and we even have a common love for music. There was something very special about our meeting.
I told them about the process of the donation, about the unique cooperation with the IDF, and they told me their side of the story. I was shown pictures and stories from Alex’s illness. Then it really began to sink in that I saved someone’s life.
I’m so glad that I had the privilege to save Alex. This was an unforgettable experience that will remain in my heart forever. And I want to tell all of you, if you have the opportunity – do it. If you save one life, it’s as if you saved the whole world.