Jay Feinberg is diagnosed with leukemia. Friends of Jay is created to find him a lifesaving bone marrow donor.
Over four years, 60,000 strangers have volunteered for testing, but no match for Jay has been found. Jay’s condition deteriorates, and plans are made for one last drive. The very last donor tested is Jay’s perfect, miracle match, Becky Faibisoff. After his successful transplant, Jay decides to continue the organization’s lifesaving mission, and Friends of Jay becomes Gift of Life.
The family of Solomon Weill z’l came to Gift of Life for help in finding a donor. In just two weeks, over 17,000 donors were recruited, including 5,000 recruited in one day at a drive in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. This remains the largest single donor drive ever held in North America.
Gift of Life becomes a member of the World Marrow Donor Association, making all the donors in its registry available for search worldwide. Transplant centers gain even better access to the registry when Gift of Life introduces its online donor search software, MatchQuest™. Gift of Life relocated to Boca Raton, Florida, where it is currently headquartered.
Gift of Life’s Patient Assistance Fund is founded so that every patient for whom a willing donor can be found is able to have a transplant, regardless of their insurance coverage. The first beneficiary of the program, Anita, met her donor Zev a year later.
Gift of Life becomes the first registry to collect bloodless specimens at donor recruitment drives. The Speed Swabbing™ cheek swab allows for full tissue typing of each donor sample.
Gift of Life holds it first Partners for Life Donor-Recipient Gala in New York.
Gift of Life starts Donor Circles to help the families and friends of patients sponsor new donors and track the matches and transplants found among them.
Gift of Life forms partnership with Taglit Birthright to swab young adults on their trip to Israel.
Gift of Life honors donor who completed his donation on 9-11 as New York was under attack.
Gift of Life recipient Jennifer Rutansky is interviewed by Katie Couric on NBC’s Today Show.
As marrow donor statistics increasingly show that younger donors are most requested by transplant centers, Gift of Life steps up college campus recruiting, with drives on 82 campuses recruiting over 20,000 healthy young donors.
Gift of Life introduces Donor Circles, a social network system that enables anyone to create a personalized team of donors on the Gift of Life website, and see results from the team in real time. A team may track new donors registered, matches found, transplants facilitated and funds raised to help pay for tissue typing of swab kits.
The first annual Steps for Life 5K Run & Walk is held in Boca Raton, Florida. Over $60,000 is raised and nearly 100 new donors join the registry.
Gift of Life Project Managers and GOL donors Nick Hudson and Alec Burkin design a program they call the Campus Ambassador Program to build a cadre of on-campus representatives from colleges across the United States. The most requested donors are 18 to 25, and this demographic is found in large numbers at universities.
Tech giant LinkedIn is so impressed with the proposal, they award Gift of Life the funding to run a pilot program in the 2014-2015 academic year.
The Campus Ambassador Program proves so successful that it is launched in full, with the goal of running simultaneous drives on World Marrow Donor Day, September 19, 2015, on at least one college campus in each of the 50 United States. This effort wins recognition from the World Marrow Donor Day organization.
The Campus Ambassador program continues to expand, with ambassadors at nearly 90 colleges for the 2016-17 academic year, including an exchange student from Rutgers representing Gift of Life at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel.
Gift of Life surpasses 3,000 transplants facilitated, and now has over 252,000 volunteer donors in the registry.
Gift of Life celebrates its 25th anniversary by lighting up New York City in orange during its Annual Gala. A new brand and focus are introduced, announcing a HUGE effort to Help Us Get Everyone swabbed, involved and cured.
Jay Feinberg is awarded the Community Leadership Award by Areyvut in recognition of Gift of Life’s significant relationship with Areyvut and meaningful work in the community.
Gift of Life sets a GUINNESS WORLD RECORD™ by creating the world’s largest swab in honor of World Marrow Donor Day on September 25, 2016. Gift of Life was the first marrow registry to use swabs instead of a blood draw to collect donor samples for testing.
In 2017 Gift of Life will expand its mission to increase the diversity of the international bone marrow registry by launching outreach programs targeting under-represented populations. The first focus will be America’s Latino population. Today, only 45 percent of Latinos in need of a bone marrow transplant are able to find a matching donor. Gift of Life plans to change those statistics, just as it has already done for those of Jewish ancestry.