Amit Gupta Needs Us!

Amit Gupta is an entrepreneur of Indian origin, based in USA, and has recently been diagnosed with Acute Leukemia. When he went to see his doctor for his continued loss of weight and weariness, he was handed a diagnosis of Acute Leukemia. He has started with his chemotherapy regime and is now slated to get a bone marrow transplant.

And THAT is where the problem begins. South Asians are very poorly represented in bone marrow registries. So his chances of getting a match off the registries in the US are bleak, at the best. With Indians faring even worse, one of the websites actually reckons that he has a chance of something around 1 in 20,000 to 100,000. Not the best of odds, and you don’t have to be a betting man to say that. Hence, he decided to pack his bags and skip back home. And now he needs us. But the problem is, thanks to the bureaucratic behemoth in the Indian health system, we do not have a national donor registry yet. This makes it even more difficult for people of Indian origin anywhere in the world to get a bone marrow transplant when they need one…

How can we help? Simple. Here are the ways:

1. Sign up for the bone marrow registry and help create a registry so that if they find a match, they can give it to Amit. And if they don’t then they can log you into the registry.

2. You can arrange a donor drive by emailing DATRI.

3. You can ask DATRI for a donor kit by going to this webpage.

4. You can pass on the message…

Please do keep checking his site for new updates on what you might be doing to help him out.

Prof. Narinder Mehra, the Head of the Department of Immunology at AIIMS (incidentally, I was once selected to work in a project under him – things did not work out between my med school and his) says that when a patient at his facility needs a transplant, he usually looks at the relatives and hopes for a match. But often, it is not that easy, since there have to be multiple genetic markers that have to be an exact match for the marrow to take in as the graft.

Interestingly, a few years ago, a similar event occurred with Tim Dutta and his then fiancee Pia. Pia was also in need of a bone marrow transplant, and Tim started the organization called MatchPia, which searched through thousands of donations to finally find a match. Pia got the transplant and made a complete recovery… Tim and Pia were married soon afterwards. Unfortunately, the organization was disbanded after its American sponsors backed out or broke some deal or something like that.

And Tim and Pia got divorced as well. Anyways…

I entreat you to do your bit for Amit, and for India. You never know, it may be you, or worse, someone you love more than yourself, who might need a bone marrow transplant sometime in the future and you may contribute to it already by stepping up. The onus should have been on the Government, but if we still wait around for the red tapes to be untied, we may just be too late.

Also, if you are lucky enough, you may be a match for Amit. And in that case, you might stand to win 30,000$ whether you choose to donate or not! And more importantly, you can get ten grands of them from none other than Seth Godin, a friend of Amit’s. [Note”: Mood = envious]

And finally, remember, you can be the one person who can make the difference. Amit has the money and the friends to back him up. The average Indian, the common man, the you-s and me-s, we do not. We face a scary prognosis marred with uncertainty if we receive the same diagnosis as Amit. I did not know of Amit till he got sick, but I am his friend, because I realize that we can not only help him by embracing this cause, but also, help us.

It’s a selfish reason. It’s a good reason.

Amit Gupta Need Us. Do you want to stand up and get counted? Or do you want to hide away behind the mundaneness of your existence and add another day to a life without meaning? The choice is yours.

Related News Stuff from the Bigger News Joints:

IBN: Online campaign to help Indian-origin entrepreneur Amit Gupta fight cancer

NDTV: Wanted: Brown Bones [loved their take on it, loved their title!]

Huffington Post: Help Amit Gupta: $30,000 Reward Offered For Bone Marrow Match [now I know the secret to success of the HP! Look at the title! That says it all!]

Amit Gupta’s Webpage

Amit Gupta Needs YOU!

2 thoughts on “Amit Gupta Needs Us!

  1. Just came across this post today, and incidentally I just swabbed and sent my sample to the National Marrow Registry yesterday! Coincidence much? Yes.

    About DATRI, let me tell you something. When I was in India earlier this year, I had contacted them about organizing a marrow registry drive in my city. I was ready to volunteer and arrange some stuff, but they had to provide the resources. I was sent a reply saying that I had to provide (or find sponsorship) of about Rs 5000 for each person registered, since that’s the amount needed to register one person. And I think they also expected me to arrange for the travel and lodging costs of their volunteers who would come by to swab people.
    Now what good is this NGO if they can’t find the resources or sponsorhips? How was I supposed to find this sort of money? Heck, just registering and volunteering to register was altruism enough for me. I could not be expected to pay 5000 bucks just to get registered!
    So that plan went in the drain! (I can forward you the communication I had with them, if you need)

    Now, in the US, I was able to register for the National Marrow Registry completely hassle free! There was an online registration, at the end of which they ask you whether you want to donate any money as well. You can very well choose not to and go ahead. About a week or so later you get the swabbing kit. Just a 5 minute process of swabbing and sending the sample back. (They take care of everything – from the Q tips to the self sealing envelope to return!)
    Completely pain free.. and much encouraging for lazy bums like me!
    (Again check out my Twitter feed for pictures of the swabbing kit)

    My whole point is, that India needs to make the process easier. Otherwise they’re just pushing back people who are willing to register and donate. And this DATRI seems more like a for-profit organization, rather than people who truly want to help out!

    I’m just glad I was able to finally register!


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