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How One Person Can Make a Difference 

by Helice Picheny

A line heard so many times!

It never became so real in our own family until very recently.

About four years ago, our daughter Arielle Picheny Dufour had the opportunity to be at an event where a donation booth was set up to swab your mouth for a DNA sample for a possible  stem cell donation. Little did she know what a journey she would be going on.

Fast forward three years. She received a call from the Stem Cell Bank that she was a possible donor for a patient with leukemia. This is an international bank and this person could be anywhere in the world. She was asked by them if she wanted to continue with the process; she agreed. Once you start, they want to make sure you are committed, if you turn out to be THE MATCH.

After a process of testing, her DNA turned out to be an EXACT match. The donation was postponed, as the patient was not in remission enough to receive the transplant. Arielle continued to prepare for her upcoming wedding that year to Jeff Dufour.

Several weeks later on January 19, 2016 the stem cell retrieval was scheduled.

Arielle went to the New York Blood Center, where for 8 hours her stem cells were retrieved. This is not painful, just a very draining and uncomfortable process.

On January 20, the recipient received Arielle’s stem cells.

Once you decide to be a donor, you have no idea where your donation is going and who it is going to. It is up to both sides whether they would like to reach out to the other. Finding out who that person is, can only take place once the recipient survives their first year post transplant.

The third week of March 2017, Arielle received an email from a woman named Jackie Kurtz  Prince. In highly emotional words she described how Arielle not only saved her life, after she had been given little chance of survival without a stem cell transplant, but returned a mother to her children, a wife to a husband, a daughter to her parents and so on. And best of all she was now CANCER FREE!!!!

Needless to say, we were all overwhelmed with the news.

As it turned out, Jackie lives in New Jerry and Ari lives in New York.

They made plans to meet.

Jackie and her family met Arielle and her husband Jeff on April 1 in NYC. A very emotional moment.

So, getting back to HOW ONE PERSON CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE, it hit much closer to home then Arielle knew.

Jackie’s parents, who have attended Hevreh have a home in Otis, her husband’s relatives have a home in Pittsfield, and Jackie and her family call the Berkshires one of their favorite places and visit often.

BESHERT! I think so. So, one person can make a difference and you never know who  it is going to affect , including your very own community.

Donate You can make all the difference!

By the way, Arielle does not think she did anything extraordinary, but did what anyone would have done.

I don’t think Jackie Kurtz Prince believes that!

Save one life and you save the world!

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