Gift of Life Marrow Registry Raises $1.4 Million at Gala, Reaffirming Mission to Cure Blood Cancer

Two life-saving blood stem cell and bone marrow donors met their transplant recipients for first time at annual gathering in New York City

BOCA RATON, Fla., June 14, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Gift of Life Marrow Registry raised $1.4 million at its One Huge Night Gala, held at The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers in New York on June 8, 2023. The funds raised during the event will potentially save more than 23,000 lives. The Gala is held annually to celebrate and further Gift of Life’s mission to help children and adults battling leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell, other cancers and inherited immune disorders find matching donors for lifesaving blood stem cell and bone marrow transplants.

Gala attendees were able to witness two examples of the tremendous impact donors can have on the lives of patients with a blood disease when two pairs of families, now inextricably linked through the lifesaving procedure of transplantation, met for the first time. Introduced onstage by Broadway actress and event Mistress of Ceremonies Julia Murney, these families, previously complete strangers, now share an unbreakable bond.

The first donor and recipient pair included Alec Kremins, a 24-year-old resident of Long Beach, N.Y., and his 14-year-old recipient Julius Wolfe, a survivor of Acute Myelogenous Leukemia. Kremins joined Gift of Life as a college student during a Birthright trip in Israel and then enlisted for the organization’s Campus Ambassador Program to recruit other young people and help to find matches for those in need.

“Each one of us have a mission when we’re here in this world to be the best person that we can be,” said Kremins. “We’re able to do that and unlock that through acts of kindness.”

Julius and his family had been filled with fear, anxiety and stress when he was diagnosed with leukemia and initial treatments failed to offer a cure. Though upset when no one in the family proved to be a match, they were relieved when Kremins stepped up as a donor for Julius and even happier to meet him in person.

“Thank you so much for saving Julius’ life, but really you saved our family and we’ll never be able to say thank you enough,” said Julius’ father Paul Wolfe, Jr. to Kremins.

The second pair introduced was David Karimzadeh, a 28-year-old man from Great Neck, N.Y., and 8-year-old recipient Zahra Sharif of Orlando, Fla. Karimzadeh donated bone marrow to Sharif who was battling Inherited Immune Systems Disorders until receiving her transplant in August 2021.

Describing the day of Zahra’s first chemotherapy treatment, her mother, Shakila Sadiq said, “that was the worst day of my life. I just didn’t want to lose my daughter. Gift of Life helped me find a donor and she came back to our life.”

“I never thought that I might be a match, but I was glad to be a match,” said Karimzadeh. “I’m happy that it worked out very well.

Due to U.S. medical privacy laws, donors and recipients must wait at least one year before learning the identity of their matches.

The gala also served as a platform to recognize the unwavering commitment and outstanding advocacy of several supporters. The organization’s highest honor, the Partners for Life Award, was presented to Julie and Andrew Rubinstein for their dedication and leadership toward Gift of Life Biologics, a vertically integrated supplier of allogeneic cellular starting material to the biopharmaceutical industry backed by its parent organization, Gift of Life Marrow Registry.

Also honored was Wendy Siegel with the Lifetime Achievement Award. A transplant recipient herself, Siegel has been involved with Gift of Life for over 11 years and currently serves as a Director of the Board. Through her dedication, she has inspired many others to join the effort to save lives. To date, Siegel’s donor circle has sponsored more than 105,000 donors to the registry, resulting in 1,700 matches for patients and 216 lifesaving transplants.

In addition, Gift of Life Board Member Mindy Schneider and Dr. Michael Lesser served as Honorary Gala Chairs and Gift of Life Chairman of the Board Stephen B. Siegel served as Gala Chair.

About Gift of Life Marrow Registry
Gift of Life Marrow Registry is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization headquartered in Boca Raton, Fla. The organization, established in 1991, is dedicated to saving lives by facilitating blood stem cell and bone marrow transplants for patients with leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood-related diseases. The registry houses its own state-of-the-art stem cell collection center, biobank, and laboratory. To learn more about Gift of Life Marrow Registry, visit

Media contact: Sandra Correa
Phone: (917) 319-8472; Email:

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

Marrow donor David Karimzadeh and transplant recipient Zahra Sharif