THE community has paid tribute to Gift of Life Australia founder Shula Endrey-Walder, who passed away last Thursday aged 74.
After founding Gift of Life Australia – which matches leukaemia sufferers with bone marrow and stem cell donors – over 25 years ago, Endrey-Walder worked tirelessly to recruit potential donors to the bone marrow register, holding regular testing sessions at Wolper Jewish Hospital, at communal events, at schools and elsewhere.
As of September 2016, Gift of Life had saved 330 lives and had 33,330 potential donors on the register.
Endrey-Walder’s work was recognised with a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 2010.
Wolper Jewish Hospital president Daniel Goulburn paid tribute to a “remarkable woman”.
“Shula Endrey-Walder was a director of Wolper from 1996 to 2009 and a great friend of the hospital,” he said.
“She took upon her task of forming Gift Of Life Australia after a phone call from [US founder] Jay Feinberg about donor marching for bone marrow. Wolper supported Shula since Gift Of Life Australia’s formation in this remarkable work of saving lives.
“She was a passionate driving force behind the cause who will be sadly missed.”
Rabbi Dr Dovid Slavin, who delivered the eulogy at her funeral last Friday, called her passing “a huge loss”.
“Shula was an incredible human being who connected with people in a very special way and was the epitome of generosity, giving, love and compassion,” he said.
“She made every single person she came into contract with feel like they were the most important person to her.
“All of us were touched by her example and will carry on her legacy.”
NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Vic Alhadeff commented, “Shula was a stand-out in her field of specialisation for as long as one can remember. Always selfless, always helping, always contributing.
“The community is much the poorer for her passing, and we extend our condolences to her loved ones.”
She leaves behind her husband Peter, children Eva and Ronny, brother Dov and grandchildren Oliver, Sasha, Honey and Lazer.