Athletes participating in the 2022 Maccabiah Games were being asked to join a Jewish bone marrow bank during their stay in Israel in an effort to bolster the largest registry its kind.
The Ezer Mizion non-profit Israeli health support organization, placed its stations in hotels and venues at the multi-sport event, asking the athletes, who hail from all corners of the globe, to submit saliva samples.
"We are certain the athletes will join in our sacred mission to save lives," said Dr. Bracha Ziser, a founder and manager of the bank adding that the cooperation with the sporting event organizers will double the bank's capacity.
The process is quick and painless, and samples are then sent to a lab for analysis, while maintaining strict privacy regulations.
The purpose of the initiative is to increase the chances of finding bone marrow donors for patients in need, with the understanding that shared DNA found in families or people of the same genetic background was more likely to be a match.
The Ezer Mizion bank was established 24 years ago in order to assist people suffering from cancer and other life-threatening diseases. It is the largest Jewish bone marrow registry and the fifth largest in the world, receiving requests from transplant centers around the world.
The organization says that to date, they have assisted in saving 4,400 lives in Israel and elsewhere.
Maccabiah CEO Roy Hessing said he was proud of the venture. "Any athlete wishing to participate, would be welcomed and they will then easily be able to access the biggest bone marrow bank in the world."