Adam Krief with his wife, Lia Mantel Krief. Photo courtesy of Hope4Adam/Facebook.

Adam Krief, whose battle with cancer united community and attracted celebrities, dies at 32


Adam Krief, the cancer-stricken Jewish man from West Los Angeles whose search for a bone marrow transplant rallied the community and gained the notice of international celebrities, died on March 14. He was 32.

Donor drives to find a match for the father of three young children were held all over the United States and in France, Israel and Mexico. Several matches resulted and Krief underwent a bone marrow transplant in December. But in a tragic turn of events, his body rejected the transplant and his condition deteriorated quickly, according to Jeremy Braun, a family friend.

Braun, who went to college with Krief’s wife, Lia, said he grew much closer to Adam over the last year. He said that even in his dying days, Adam was focused on the impact his story could have on others.

“He said that Hashem gave him this to save other people’s lives,” Braun said. “That was consistent throughout. He never wanted people to be in the [national bone marrow] registry just of his sake. The drives organized for him have found matches for at least 13 others and has saved lives.”

Last summer, Krief began chemotherapy to treat a rare form of blood cancer called primary myelofibrosis. To save his life, he needed a bone marrow transplant but there wasn’t a single match in the national bone marrow registry’s 13-million person database.

A “Hope4Adam” Instagram account and Facebook page with more than 13,000 “likes” documenting his story got the word out. “Big Bang Theory” actress Mayim Bialik and reality television star Kim Kardashian West were among those who helped publicize a search for a matching donor, encouraging people on their social media accounts to join the registry and become donors.

Braun, his wife Michal and other community members rallied behind the Krief family as well. Many relatives, friends and neighbors signed up to become bone marrow donors and created a “hot meal train,” signing up and taking shifts to deliver food to the Krief household. Late night prayer sessions were arranged at the Krief’s Fairfax-area synagogue, Baba Sale Congregation.

Bikur Cholim, a Jewish medical charity organization, provided platelet donors for Adam when his hospital ran low. Platelets are tiny cells in blood that form clots and stop bleeding, and they’re often critical to fighting cancer.

People dropped by the hospital to visit Adam to play guitar and sing Havdalah songs after Shabbat. Jews from around the globe captivated by Adam’s story flooded the Kriefs with pictures, prayers and videos with words of encouragement.

“It’s been really special and takes away from feelings of isolation and aloneness,” Adam’s wife Lia said for a December story in the Journal. She also called those who helped out in any way her family’s “vigilantes” and “knights in shining armor.”

Braun said he told Adam how much his courage has meant to the community when he visited the hospital on Sunday to say goodbye to his friend.

“I told him, on behalf of entire world, I want to say thank you for inspiring us and making us better people,” he said. “Thank you for making us do good for other people. Thank you for changing the world. I told him you have my commitment that this isn’t over. We’ll continue to do blood drives for people who need it.”

Braun said so far donor drives held on behalf of Adam — an avid basketball fan, skateboarder and snowboarder—have resulted in more than 60,000 new bone marrow donors to the national registry.

“He was this young, vibrant guy and his life was turned around and taken from him in one quick year,” he said.

Krief is survived by his wife, Lia, and their three children, Lev, Joel and Luca. Services were scheduled to be held March 15.

Alexis Arquette, Jewish transgender actress and advocate, dies at 47


Transgender actress Alexis Arquette, who worked to raise awareness about the transgender community, has died.

Arquette, the sister of actors David, Rosanna, Richmond and Patricia Arquette, died Sunday. She was 47. A cause was not given in a statement put out by her siblings, but it said she died as her family serenaded her with David Bowie’s “Starman.”

Arquette gained fame after playing a transvestite sex worker in the 1989 film adaptation of the novel “Last Exit to Brooklyn.”

She documented her gender transition and sex reassignment surgery in the 2007 film “Alexis Arquette: She’s My Brother.”

Arquette also had roles in “Pulp Fiction,” “Bride of Chucky” and “The Wedding Singer,” and performed in nightclubs and cabarets.

Her siblings praised Arquette’s commitment to raising awareness about transgender individuals.

“Despite the fact that there are few parts for trans actors, she refused to play roles that were demeaning or stereotypical,” their statement said. “She was a vanguard in the fight for understanding and acceptance for all trans people.”

The Los Angeles native was born to a Jewish mother, actress Brenda Denaut, and a Catholic father who later converted to Islam, actor Lewis Arquette. She launched her acting career early, starring in the music video for The Tubes’ rock hit “She’s a Beauty” as a 12-year-old.