Upon meeting her physician, the Williams knew they found Joi’s doctor. “He is so sincere, I trusted him completely. I call him my earthly angel.”
Angels, mitzvahs, the grace of God. Joi Williams knows the presence of each in her life.
In 1996, Joi was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). While Joi began chemotherapy, her husband Rick began researching CML. When they learned Joi would need a bone marrow transplant (BMT), Rick contacted the American Red Cross for information and happened to reach a former City of Hope patient who convinced Rick to take Joi to the City of Hope campus.
Upon meeting her physician, the Williams knew they found Joi’s doctor. “He is so sincere, I trusted him completely. I call him my earthly angel,” says Joi.
In 1998, with marrow from an anonymous donor located through the National Marrow Donor Program, Joi underwent the BMT. During the month she was hospitalized, Joi received numerous blessings. Rick devoted himself to her care, friends and family prepared her house for her return home, and City of Hope staff nurtured her with kindness. Following her recovery, Joi met her donor, Zalman “Shloim” Sufrin of London, England. An Orthodox Jew, Shloim explained to Joi that donating his marrow has been a mitzvah, or good deed, that is his duty in observance of God’s commandments.
Remarkably, subsequent to donating his marrow for Joi, Shloim was identified as a match for a man living in Germany, for whom he also became a donor. “He told me he had always hoped he could do something to help another human being and he remains on the donor registry in the event he might help someone again. He is a mitzvah,” says Joi.
With deep gratitude, Joi, a real estate agent, serves on City of Hope’s Cancer Immunotherapy and Stem Cell Research Committee and devotes weekly time to encourage others who face life threatening illnesses and BMTs. Yet, she admits, her most precious time is spent with the newest angels in her life, Isabella Joi and Liliana Mae, her two grandchildren.