As we drew close to the end of 2021, DATRI India’s largest Blood Stem cell Donors Registry, got an opportunity to organize three Blood Stem Cell Donor Registration Drive and a camp to create awareness about Blood Stem Cell Transplant that can help any patient suffering from fatal blood related disorder or blood cancer and give them a second chance at life. The drive and camp were put up in Kanpur, Banaras and Bulandshahr, three major cities of UP, India. Maximum participation was seen from Thalassemia patients and their families.
As we are all aware, Thalassemia Major is a genetic disorder, wherein if both the husband and wife are Thalassemia Minor, there is a seventy percent chance that the child is born as a Thalassemia Major. To bring this to a halt, a couple should get themselves tested before getting married. When a person is Thalassemia Minor, he/she will never know about it as Thalassemia Minor is not a disease. A person with Thalassemia Minor is a healthy individual who can donate blood and blood products. Whereas, a child born with Thalassemia Major needs to undergo blood transfusions and the only help for such children in the long term is a Blood Stem Cell Transplant or Bone Marrow Transplant from a fully-matched unrelated Blood stem cell donor. The probability of ﬁnding an unrelated matched donor is 1 in 10,000 to 1 in over a Million. You could say that 1 in a Million match is for someone who is gripping on to their life at the edge with hope.
We at DATRI are striving to help patients suffering from Thalassemia and other blood-related disorders, blood cancers to find an unrelated blood stem cell donor for them. We organize these Blood stem cell awareness and registration drives to register potential blood stem cell donors. We have also contributed our sincere efforts towards Thalassemia Societies across India and leading hemato-oncologists to spread awareness through various camps.
In Kanpur, we conducted a drive on 20th November, 2021, along with Kanpur Thalassemics, Ujjwal Donors Club and Apollo Hospitals and successfully registered more than fifty potential blood stem cell donors. These donors are mainly parents of Thalassemia Major children, who are the potential future of becoming a match, and can potentially save the life of the patient suffering from blood-related disorder.
In the past, we have conducted camps in Banaras at The Hindu University, Varanasi. On 10th December 2021, we also organized awareness and registration camps along with the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit of IMS, BHU initiated by Dr. Vineeta Gupta. Through this camp, a number of doctors, administrative staff, and parents of Thalassemia children registered as voluntary donors. On 17th December, DATRI along with All India Thalassemia Mission, Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh participated in the camp and registered many more potential donors.
A growing surge has been observed in North India, in the number of Thalassemia children being born every year. Earlier, it was only Punjab and Gujarat in the Northern part of India with the highest number of Thalassemia Major children, but sadly now Uttar Pradesh is also becoming a thick belt for Thalassemic children. With the growing numbers, there is also a growing and urgent need to spread awareness about blood stem cell donation and how it is the only way we can help patients suffering from Thalassemia and other blood- related disorders.
DATRI Blood Stem Cell Donors Registry a not-for-profit organization, was incepted in 2009 to find unrelated matched donors for patients with leukemia or blood disorders whose life is dependent on an unrelated donor to survive. DATRI, India’s largest registry with more than 4.5 Lakh donors. Any healthy individual between the age of 18 years to 50 years can register as a blood stem cell donor with DATRI and potentially become a lifesaver when they’re found to be a match for a fatal blood disorder patient.
About the Author:
Swati Prakash, Senior Associate with DATRI North India- handling counselling, donations and donor recruitment drives for the past 5 years