Jewish Baby's Rare Immune Disorder Attracts Global Sympathy — and Support

Couple Raise $100K to Fight Son's Hyper IgM Syndrome

Battle for Life: Little Idan Zablocki suffers from an immune-deficiency disorder that affects 1 in 500,000 people. It can be a death sentence but his family is fighting back with the help of the community.
courtesy of Zablocki family
Battle for Life: Little Idan Zablocki suffers from an immune-deficiency disorder that affects 1 in 500,000 people. It can be a death sentence but his family is fighting back with the help of the community.

By Anne Cohen

Published August 07, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 3)

The Zablockis are no strangers to medical hardship. Eight years ago, Akiva Zablocki was diagnosed with a brain stem tumor that doctors deemed inoperable. Refusing to give up hope, he looked for a doctor who would operate.

A brain surgeon in Arizona proved to be the answer and saved his life, removing the tumor entirely. Though he sometimes has to wear an eye patch, he has regained his quality of life.

His son’s condition “makes my brain surgery look like a paper cut.,” Akiva Zablocki said .”But [he] is strong, and I think he’ll overcome it.”

People with Hyper IgM have three options: They can do nothing, which condemns them to death in their mid-20s from cancers and opportunistic infections; they can use intravenous immunoglobulin, the blood plasma replacement therapy that Idan currently undergoes once a week, or they can have a bone marrow transplant.

After consulting with doctors and medical professionals in England, Canada, Israel and all over the United States, the Zablockis have finally made their decision: They are making Seattle their temporary home as Idan undergoes treatment at Seattle Children’s Hospital, where both bone marrow transplants and Hyper IgM were discovered. He is lucky: Four potential donors have already been identified.

The Zablockis chose Seattle because doctors there use a drug called Treosulfan as part of the chemotherapy that will wipe out their son’s original immune system. Though still not FDA approved for general use, it is being used in clinical trials. The drug is believed to reduce the three fatal complications of bone marrow transplants: complications from chemotherapy, infections and graft-versus-host disease.

“We want to choose the [option] that gives him the best chance of long-term survival with the least complications,” his mother explained. “With a bone marrow transplant, there’s a chance for a complete cure. It takes one to two years to fully recover, but if it’s successful, then he’s a perfectly normal child and he grows just as any other person does.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.