News and Events

Young Girl Saved by Bone Marrow Donation from Her Father’s Close Friend

Publication Date: 11/1/2021 1:30 PM

Following a diagnosis of leukemia, 11-year-old Tulin Hamdan needed a bone marrow donation to get well. Ta’ar Katima had joined the bone marrow registry, and was found to be a suitable match.

Tulin Hamadan with (L-R) Dr. Aharon Gefen, her father Samer, and the donor, Ta'ar Katima. Photography: Rambam HCCTulin Hamadan with (L-R) Dr. Aharon Gefen, her father Samer, and the donor, Ta'ar Katima. Photography: Rambam HCC

Eleven-year-old Tulin received a bone marrow donation from Ta'ar Katima, the close friend of her father, Samer Hamdan. What makes this story even more unusual is the fact that both men are from the same locality – the Druze village of Yanuh-Jat, they are good friends, and they both work together in the same factory in Kibbutz Yehiam. When Katima was contacted by the bone marrow registry at Hadassah Medical Center and told he was a match for someone, he gave a positive response without thinking twice.

Approximately two months ago, when Tulin and her family agreed to meet with the blood marrow donor, it simply had not occurred to any of them that the donor would turn out to be a close family friend. In addition, neither Katima, the donor, nor Tulin’s family realized until the meeting that everyone already knew each other!

Recently, the two finally met face-to-face in an emotional meeting held in the department in Ruth Rappaport Children’s Hospital at Rambam Health Care Campus where little Tulin was treated. During their meeting, the families were given the rare opportunity of getting to know each other in a whole new way – as the selfless bone marrow donor meeting a grateful recipient and her family. Samer expressed his gratitude to his friend, “I want to thank you with all of my heart. You were already like a brother to me, and now you are the heart that beats in Tulin,” he said with emotion.

The moving meeting took place in the presence of the treatment team from the Joan & Sanford Weill Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplantation, headed by Dr. Shifra Ash, the Director of Pediatric Hematology & Oncology; Dr. Aharon Gefen, the Coordinator for Pediatric Bone Marrow Research, Ruth Ofir-Blems, the Division’s Head Nurse, and representatives of the "Larger Than Life" association, which donated the gifts and decorations for the event. And of course, all of this took place against the backdrop of cheers and the happy atmosphere created by the National Service participants who volunteer in the department.