Amit Gupta Needs You, and Other South Asians Too (Join the Marrow Registry!)

[fr] Amit Gupta, celui qui a démarré Jelly et Photojojo (entre autres), court le risque de mourir de leucémie aiguë s'il ne trouve pas un donneur de cellules souches du sang. La chance de trouver un donneur pour quelqu'un d'Asie du Sud est très faible -- c'est pourquoi l'entourage d'Amit (et tout internet s'y met) remue ciel et terre pour encourager un maximum de personnes du même groupe ethnique de s'enregistrer comme donneurs.

I should have blogged about this weeks ago. I’ve been anxiously watching the countdown of the time that was left to find a bone marrow donor for Amit Gupta.

I’ve been checking Facebook and Twitter in the hope that I would see good news announced.

The countdown now says 0.

Amit Gupta Needs You!

It doesn’t mean it’s too late, but it means that if there is no good enough donor amongst the people currently in the registry, Amit will have to take his chances with extra rounds of chemo (with possibly lasting damage) to survive the acute leukemia he was diagnosed with only mid-September.

If caucasians have a roughly 90% chance of finding a matching donor should they need one, chances are much slimmer if you’re South Asian (1 chance in 20’000 of finding an exact match). The reasons, it seems:

  • the huge variety of HLA profiles (a set of genes) amongst South Asians
  • a general reluctance to register and if matched, to donate (50% or more of South Asians back out once matched).

Heck, if the Ugly Indian can keep a street clean in Bangalore, can he not join a marrow registry and possibly save a life?

I have to say that when I first heard that Amit needed a marrow donation, I imagined the procedure was something like a spinal tap. It isn’t. The donor’s stem cells are usually taken from the blood stream directly, or if needed from the hip or pelvis, not the spine. All in all, the procedure is close to giving blood. Not a huge deal, to be honest.

Team Gupta’s next move, Clark tells Wired.com, is to make sure people are aware of how simple and painless the donation process is. Marrow is extracted from the arm and generally takes six hours or so. The procedure is about as invasive as donating blood — it just takes longer.

And to join the registry, all you need to do is send back a cheek swab. It’s really easy.

Here’s how to help if you live in India.

Even if you’re not a match for Amit, you might be a match for somebody else whose life depends upon a bone marrow donation.

As for me, well, there’s little chance I may be a match for Amit (obviously). I looked up the Swiss Marrow Registry to sign up, and was quite disappointed to see that my heart operation seemed to rule me out. I checked with them, though, and it’s on a case-by-case basis. In my case, there’s happily no reason to rule me out on the basis of the operation I had over 30 years ago.

So, who is this Amit? I don’t really know him, though I had a couple of e-mail exchanges with him when I started the eclau Jelly. Yup, he’s behind that. And he also started Photojojo, which you should definitely join if you’re into photography.

But this goes beyond Amit: it’s an issue for the whole South Asian community. If you are South Asian, in India or elsewhere, please do see what you can do to help.

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This entry was posted in Health, India, News and Politics, Social Media and the Web and tagged amitguptaneedsyou, bone marrow, donate, india, registry, south asia, swabforamit. Bookmark the permalink.

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