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Bone marrow match still sought for rabbinical student—can you help?

February 15, 2007 | 7:00 pm

The urgent search for a suitable bone marrow transplant donor for University of Judaism rabbinical student Joel Shickman, 37, stricken with AML, a form of leukemia in early February, continues.

Shickman's family is encouraging people to register with the National Bone Marrow Program, especially those of Ashkenazi (Eastern European) descent who have a greater likelihood of providing a match.

Information regarding testing, which involves providing a small blood sample or swab of cheek cells, is available at www.marrow.org or by calling 800-627-7692.

In the Los Angeles area, bone marrow drives are scheduled for February 27 and March 3. In addition, testing is being done in Culver City on March 10 and in North Hills on March 11.

Shickman has just completed a second round of chemotherapy and doctors are keeping him comfortable while they watch for infections and other side effects. In a few weeks, a biopsy will be done to determine if the leukemia has gone into remission. Once that occurs, a bone marrow transport will be performed, pending the discovery of a suitable donor.

In the meantime, Shomrei Torah Synagogue in West Hills, where Shickman teaches and leads services, has established a fund to help with healthcare and related expenses. Additionally, the University of Judaism community, under the direction of Rabbis Cheryl Peretz and Shawn Fields-Meyer, has initiated a Mishnah study in honor of Shickman's health.

Shickman's wife, Heather, writing on a Cedars-Sinai CarePages blog, has expressed thanks for the community's involvement: "I cannot express the gratitude I feel for everyone who has been helping me and for everyone who is signed up to continue helping. Joel and I are awed by God's miracles and blessings that we receive daily from each of you." In addition, Shickman, who is married and the father of three sons, is regularly receiving blood and platelet transfusions. Those wishing to help can schedule an appointment at the Cedars-Sinai Blood Donor Facility to give a directed donation by calling 310-423-5326. Shomrei Torah Synagogue in West Hills, where Shickman teaches and leads services, has established a fund to help with healthcare and related expenses. Additionally, the University of Judaism community, under the direction of Rabbis Cheryl Peretz and Shawn Fields-Meyer, has initiated a Mishnah study in honor of Shickman's health. -- Jane Ulman, Contributing Writer To read about Joel Shickman on the Cedars-Sinai CarePages blog "HereForJoel," click: http://www.carepages.com/ServeCarePage?cpn=HereForJoel&seed=883673&ClusterNodeID=jb03&tlcx1=default In addition, a webpage has been set up on www.lotsahelpinghands.com for people to assist the Shickman family with childcare, meals, cleaning services and other care. To participate in prayer and study groups, remotely or on-site at University of Judaism, contact Rabbi Cheryl Peretz at cperetz@uj.edu or Rabbi Shawn Fields-Meyer at shawn@fields-meyer.com To donate to the Shickman Health Fund, please make your checks payable to Shomrei Torah Synagogue and put Shickman Health Fund on the memo line. Mail to Shomrei Torah Synagogue, 7353 Valley Circle Blvd., West Hills, CA 91304 (Attn: Shickman Health Fund).

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