The area Jewish community is joining the larger Westfield community in helping to cover medical expenses for a 41-year-old man facing complications from acute myeloid leukemia.
Darren Lederman of Westfield is a graduate of the Jewish Education Center in Elizabeth. He and his wife, Stacey, are members of Temple Sholom and the JCC of Central NJ in Scotch Plains. They have two children, Emma, eight, who attends Temple Sholom’s religious school, and Noah, six.
Lederman did not let myelodysplastic syndrome get in his way when he was diagnosed with the rare blood disorder, called MDS for short, in 2010. And he didn’t let a heart attack in October 2013 slow him down. In both cases, he was back on the job as a commercial buyer in New York City.
Last January, he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. Even then, he kept fighting. He received a bone marrow transplant in early summer, and he seemed to be recovering well. But at the end of August, his body started to reject the transplant, and he developed the condition known as graft-versus-host disease, now attacking his gut, one of the most serious forms of the illness.
Stacey and the children have moved in with her parents, who also live in Westfield, while Darren is in the hospital. Medical expenses have spiraled out of control. This time, even if he regains his health, Darren cannot work in an office setting because he cannot be exposed to germs for at least a year.
Over the last few months, friends have organized a variety of on-line fund-raisers to help defray expenses. The two main sites, which include updates on Darren’s condition, current fund-raisers, and ways to donate, are a Facebook page called LedermanStrong and a site on Youcaring. To date, over $41,000 has been contributed toward the current goal of $65,000. The best way to donate is through the Youcaring site.