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School hosts bone marrow donor search at Hanukkah concert

The Hebrew Academy of Nassau County is asking those moved by the spirit of the holiday season to donate a lifesaving gift for a Roslyn native in great need.

The Plainview school's Hanukkah concert, scheduled for tonight, has a special component this year: a bone marrow testing drive that school officials hope will provide a donor to help save the life of an investment banker stricken with an aggressive form of leukemia.

Alan Cohen, 49, who now lives in New Jersey, is the father of twin 12-year-old girls and is being treated for acute erythroleukemia at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan.

Other bone marrow drives on his behalf failed to yield a match.

"To us, Hanukkah is not just a time to celebrate and make concerts," said Rabbi Kalman Fogel, principal of the school, which has nearly 200 students. "We do what we can to help others."

The concert is an annual event that showcases the voices and talents of pupils in grades 1 through 6, and it typically draws up to 300 people, Fogel said.

Hebrew Academy officials are hoping concert attendees take part in the bone marrow testing drive today at the school at 25 Country Dr. from 6:15 to 8 p.m. and on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Plainview school and the West Hempstead location at 240 Hempstead Ave.

Potential donors need only fill out a consent form and provide a cell sample by allowing their cheeks to be swabbed. The samples will be placed on an international registry of potential donors, Fogel said.

"Hopefully, we can find the right person who can help him," Fogel said.

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