Photo Credit: Courtesy MDA Spokesperson
Moshe Gelerenter (R) with his granddaughter who is donating her first unit of blood.

Giving is in their blood. In the 1970s, when Moshe Gelerenter, 75, was a young student at Bar-Ilan University – he donated blood at the MDA for the first time in his life. Since then, he has become a regular donor and has continued to donate every month, and over the years he also passed this on to his children and grandchildren.

This week, his granddaughter, who is 17, donated blood for the first time in her life — the family’s 600th blood donation.

The whole Gelerenter clan with the granddaughter who is donating her first unit of blood. / Courtesy MDA Spokesperson
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Sunday marks International Blood Donation Day around the world. At the same time, with extraordinary timing, the Gelerenter family celebrates the 600th blood and blood product donation of family members who have donated blood continuously over the past several decades.

Karl Landsteiner / Unknown via Wikimedia

Dr. Karl Landsteiner (June 14, 1868 – June 26, 1943) was an Austrian biologist, physician, and immunologist. He distinguished the main blood groups in 1900, having developed the modern system of classification of blood groups from his identification of the presence of agglutinins in the blood, and identified, with Alexander S. Wiener, the Rhesus factor, in 1937, thus enabling physicians to transfuse blood without endangering the patient’s life.

About a year ago, Moshe had a heart attack and was forced to stop donating. He decided to continue to help in other ways, and joined the MDA blood donor organization. He also recruited his four children, two grandchildren and other relatives to donate.

Moshe Gelerenter donating blood (archival image)  / Courtesy MDA Spokesperson

Moshe Gelerenter said in a statement: “Unfortunately, due to a cardiac event and sugar problems, I can no longer donate. Nevertheless, I found another way to help MDA and the coronavirus crisis, I volunteered in the organization and brought more blood donors. I feel I did my share — I was able to educate the next generation and now my grandchildren are donating with their initiative and with great desire.

“I started donating regularly when I was told about a baby who needed urgent blood donation. The story really impressed me and I immediately wanted to donate. This week, my young granddaughter donated her first unit of blood, which marked 600 units of blood from the Gelerenter family. It is an exciting symbol of the continuity of generations and the continuity of giving.

“To my delight, no one in the family is afraid of needles. I thank God for leading me to this endeavor and I am grateful to have been able to help. Most important to me is that my children and the next generation, grandchildren, go my way and donate nonstop. Each has donated dozens of units of blood and they do not intend to stop. I consider the donation a supreme value and hope my story will serve as an example to others. ”

Prof. Eilat Shinar, MDA Deputy Director General- Blood Services, said in a statement: “Moshe is one of the best and most special people we have met. We, in MDA Blood Services, help 1,800 patients around the country who need blood transfusions to save their lives. At the time of the coronavirus crisis, the importance of plasma donation became particularly significant, with the aim of helping the severely ill and preparing for the next wave. Dr. Karl Landsteiner, who discovered the types of blood and thus his birthday marks the day of blood donation around the world on, would have been happy to know that there are special people like the Gelerenter family.”

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