Update: Lia Krief has begun a fundraising campaign to help her care for her three children.
Adam Krief, a Jewish father of three from Los Angeles who was diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer in July, died on Tuesday at the age of 32 following complications from a bone-marrow transplant. Although he found a bone marrow match in December, his body ultimately rejected it.
Through social media, the world got a charming, tragic glimpse into this young dad’s life. On the Facebook and Instagram pages for #Hope4Adam, the campaign Krief launched to reach out to donors and record his medical journey to fight primary myelofibrosis, he shared photos at various steps of his chemotherapy treatment process. In the early images, he looks healthy on the outside, posing with his wife, Lia, and his children, Lev, Joel, and Luca, during quiet moments at home. More recent pictures show him hospital-ridden, having lost considerable weight. In each snapshot, Krief’s personality shines through—whether he and one of his sons are sticking out their tongues in unison or when he’s giving his daughter a cookie at the hospital, protected by a face mask and gloves.
Thanks to the campaign, which went viral, would-be donors, celebrities, and Jewish organizations and media spread the word about Krief’s story. In conjunction with Gift of Life—the nonprofit marrow and blood stem cell donor registry founded by Jay Feinberg, a 21-year survivor of leukemia who has been honored by organizations such as Hadassah International and the Union for Reform Judaism for his dedication to raising awareness about blood cancer—#Hope4Adam set up donor drives in cities around the world, from Chicago to Kingston, Ontario, to Tel Aviv. Celebrities did their part as well, including Kim Kardashian (whose friend’s son goes to school with one of Krief’s kids), Mayim Bialik, and Los Angeles Laker players Metta World Peace and Jordan Clarkson, who wrote about Krief on their social media accounts. (He also appears to have received a basketball signed by the entire Laker team.)
The Jewish community also rallied in support of Krief, including medical charity Bikur Cholim, which found platelet donors for Krief when his hospital was running out. Additionally, on Monday, L.A.’s Eretz Cultural Center’s Kabbalah group requested followers to recite Tehillim (psalms) on his behalf. Someone also dedicated a note to Krief’s “full and quick recovery” at the Kotel.
The most touching response to Krief’s death was the tribute that his family left on the #Hope4Adam Facebook page. Steeped in Jewish tradition, the message reads:
Adam. To the man, the tzadik, who touched the hearts and the lives of all of us. Who united us. Who gave us a reason to come together. To fight. To pray. To love. It’s only fitting that your name is Adam. You represent what it means to be a man. A good man. A strong man. The man we all strive to be. You have left this earth physically, but have left a little piece of you, your goodness, your unwavering will to live, within all of us. You have become our son, our father, our family, our friend. Thank you for sharing yourself with us. Thank you for being you. To know you is to love you. And we love you.
Adam united us all and will continue to do so! The family is touched by all of the love and prayer their son has received from all over the world.
Zoe Miller is Tablet’s editorial intern. Follow her on Twitter here.