Back in India, about eight years ago a colleague of mine sent out out an e-mail blast to the company bulletin board checking to see if anyone was a marrow donor. His son needed a transplant and the odd’s weren’t in his favor. I had no clue what that entailed and read up a bit on it. Later that evening as I tried registering on to the Be the match portal, I realized they didn’t have the support framework to sign-on users outside the U.S. It didn’t take a minute for me to close the tab and get back to what I was doing. A couple weeks later I learnt the kid died and somewhere deep in my heart I regretted not trying harder to sign-up or figure a way around. But again with all things good and bad, that moment passed and I moved on.
A few months back a good old friend shared a post seeking marrow donors. I had no excuses this time around. I immediately signed up online and received the swab kit in a few days. Sent that out just before we flew to India for a short trip and late last month I received my donor card. It’s highly unlikely I’ll be called in for a match. But I’m psyched! If not anything, I’ve incremented the list of very short Indian origin donors by one. Given the lack of pro-activeness in such issues I see within the Indian society (even within my own family), there’s a long way to go. This has to change! We need more people in the pool for this to work and just cannot wait until a close family member falls sick to realize the monstrosity of the problem.
One of my goals over the next few months is to coax more of my family members to sign-up. It all starts in your home!