World’s Oldest Fanconi Anemia Patient Turns 30!

This afternoon I will be attending a very, very special birthday party for my neighbor Ruthie Saunders. The reason this birthday party is SO special is that Ruthie is the oldest person in the world with Fanconi Anemia,* and today she will be celebrating her THIRTIETH birthday! This is nothing short of extraordinary, since at her birth her doctors predicted that Ruthie would not live past early childhood. And today, Ruthie enjoys not only good health but also a very full and productive life. Ruthie is an active member of Beit Hagalgalim, a center for handicapped young adults, assists her mother with her antique jewelry business, and is, I have heard, quite an accomplished drummer and English-Hebrew translator.
Ruthie is also a very wonderful human being whom I am proud to call a neighbor and a friend.

Learn more about my extraordinary neighbors, Sharon and Ruthie Saunders, in this video I made about them entitled “My Heroes Live Next Door.”

Click here to learn more about Fanconi Anemia, and to donate to the Fanconi Anemia Foundation in honor of Ruthie’s birthday.

*There are different kinds of Fanconi’s Anemia. Ruthie is the oldest person in the world with the Fanconi’s anemia associated with Ashkenazi Jews.


  1. if I can stop sniffling I’ll try to leave a coherent comment

    Ruthie and Sharon Saunders, you are my heroes too!!!!!!

    look what love can do – Ruthie is turning 30!!!!!!!!!!!! mazel tov and may Hashem grant you both good health, happiness, long life, prosperity, and everything you both want and need.

    • Sharon Saunders

      Thank you – have a happy and kosher pesach. And remember: chametz isn’t dirt; dirt isn’t chametz!!! (Don’t work too hard.)

  2. Hadassah Aber

    What an inspirational story. Love, hope, trust, and emunah, all rolled into one!

  3. Marc Jones


    I am a fanconi anaemia sufferer too. I will turn 28 in 3 weeks and going strong!

    Marc ,


  4. I too have Fanconi Anemia. I had a bone marrow transplant at 7, breast cancer at 33, and have had three beautiful children! I turn 36 in November 2017 🙂 God is GREAT!

  5. I am 43, no health problems, busy preschool teacher, just started bruising now…..

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