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July 30, 2005

Attention, Ashkenazi jazz fans: Michael Brecker needs your help


Renowned tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker has been diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). Michael urgently needs a bone marrow transplant and no suitable donor has been found.

Michael's wife Susan is appealing to family, friends, and the community at large. I have included a copy of her email below the fold-- it includes instructions about how to get tested for compatibility with Michael specifically, how to get onto the national bone marrow donation registry, how to organize a bone marrow drive, and how to contact Michael's manager for more information.

If you're not a registered bone marrow donor yet, please consider joining the registry. The most likely matches for Michael are Ashkenazi Jews. I happen to know that lot of Majikthise readers are Ashkenazi jazz-lovers. So, if you've got stem cells to spare, please consider getting tested.

Sent:Thursday, July 28, 2005 4:02 PM

FROM:Susan Brecker

SUBJECT:Michael Brecker needs your help.

Dear Family and Friends,

My husband, Michael Brecker, has been diagnosed with MDS (myelodysplastic syndrome), and its critical that he undergoes a stem cell transplant. The initial search for a donor (including Michael's siblings and children) has not yet resulted in a suitable match. Michael's doctors have told us that we need to immediately explore ALL possible options. This involves getting as many people of a similar genetic background to be tested.

There are some important points to understand concerning this process:

1. The screening involves a blood test only. It can be done very quickly either at a marrow donation center or at a LOCAL LAB. The cost is anywhere from $40 to $75 and your insurance may cover it.  (In NYC, you can call Frazier, at the NY Blood Bank, at 212-570-3441, and make an appointment for HLA typing.  It costs $40.00.)  Check with your local blood bank, or go to to find the donor center nearest you.

2. Your blood typing information can be posted on the international registry, if you choose, where it would also be available to others in need of a transplant. BEING ON THE REGISTRY DOESN'T MEAN YOU HAVE TO DONATE, it just means that you may be ASKED to do so. You can take your name off the registry at any time.

3.  Should you be selected as a potential donor for Michael, please understand that there have been tremendous advances in bone marrow transplants and the term itself can be misleading.  Bone marrow donation is no more invasive than giving blood.  Stem cells are simply harvested from your blood and then transplanted to Michael.

4.  A match for Michael would be most likely to come from those of Eastern European Jewish descent. If you or anyone you know are in this category please make a special effort to immediately get tested. Ultimately, you would be doing something not just for Michael, but for so many more who are in a similar situation as my husband.

5. You are now part of our internet-based drive for donor testing. If everyone who receives this can motivate a bunch of their friends to get tested, and those friends then forward this email to get their friends to get tested, we will have rapidly expanded the pool of potential donors. I urge all of you to get tested AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

Any local blood center/Red Cross center can assist in organizing a drive for Michael, although it would be desirable if you can get a large group, e.g. a synagogue, to sponsor it.

Should you have any questions about this, please don't hesitate to get in touch with Michael's management office at 212.302.9200 or

Thank you so much for your love and support.

We are so grateful,



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He's one hell of a musician. I hope he finds a matching donor.

This isn't about politics. MB is a living legend--let's pray that he STAYS that way.

Aqui é o Jefferson Soares diretamente do Brasil Rio de Janeiro venho´por meio dessa pra desejar ao Michael que melhore o mais rápido possível e Deus possa realizar todos oos seus sonhos,que Deus abençoe você e sua familia um grande abraço e fica com Deus dê seu fã muito amigo Jefferson Soares.

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