First of all, I take this opportunity to congratulate Team DATRI for completing 1000 collections, which means they have given second chance to 1000 patients. This is absolutely a proud moment for DATRI and happy that I am part of this achievement.
Below is my Blood Stem Cell Donation experience, which I have recently completed. It was a straightforward, non-surgical and overwhelmingly positive experience, and I hope this blog encourages more potential donors to come forward and register with DATRI, India’s largest Blood Stem Cell donors registry!
Blood Stem Cell transplant also known as Bone marrow transplants are used in treating different types of blood cancers and fatal blood disorders.
This requires a perfect or near-perfect HLA-type match for donation to be viable. The probability of the match very rare, and relatives aren’t always a match and there is only a 25% chance for a match within the family, which is why building a large donor database is essential for patients waiting for a match to undergo a blood stem cell transplant.
I first came to know about the DATRI Blood stem cell donors registry through a law school senior and registered as a potential donor in 2018. Signing up involved filling out a form with all details, paying for the HLA-typing cost (INR 1800), which is 80G exempt, and sending a buccal (cheek) swab to DATRI.
One fine day I received a call from DATRI saying that I was a match for a 2-year-old kid with a blood disorder (4years after registering!) . DATRI coordinator walked me through the two ways of donation: Peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) donation and Bone marrow donation. I learnt that in PBSC donation blood is drawn from one arm, a machine filters out your blood stem cells and the rest of the blood is sent back into your body through another arm. As I got all my doubts clarified, I was confident and agreed to donate.
In order to confirm my eligibility for the process, I underwent a full body check-up and confirmatory HLA typing. As soon as everything looked good, they started me on 5 days of GCSF injections (nurse comes home) to increase more blood stem cells. This can lead to some discomfort – my lower back and ribs hurt, but nothing complicated, and medicines like Dolo can fix it.
On day 5, I was asked to come to the donation centre (South India) and was hooked up to the apheresis machine through 2 IVs. This can take between 2-6 hours, so prepare to keep your arms still.
My Blood Stem Cell Donation took 2.5hrs, and the blood bank technician played Kamal-Sridevi’s Vaazhve Maayam songs to keep me entertained. The process can lead to a drop in calcium levels, which I felt more sharply than most donors, but I was monitored and given chewable & IV meds right during my donation process.
DATRI’S donor coordinator was with me throughout the Blood Stem Cell Donation process. And DATRI coordinator thanked my sweet dad for coming along with me for the donation. My ‘Blood Stem Cells’ went out to the recipient’s hospital right away, and for confidentiality reasons, I won’t know how the transplant went for him until a year from now.
After a few days, I felt totally fine, and resumed regular activities! The process of donating blood stem cells is simple, it has a great impact, and it does not require anaesthesia. In the end, I am more than happy that I was able to give a second chance at life to a patient for whom I was the only matched donor.
You can also register and gift a life, please click on the register now button and register as a Blood Stem Cell Donor
DATRI Blood Stem Cell Donors Registry, a not-for-profit organisation, has facilitated more than 1001 Blood Stem Cell Donations to date. The journey began in the year 2009 to find unrelated matched donors for patients with leukaemia, Thalassemia or blood disorders whose life is dependent on an unrelated donor to survive. DATRI, India’s largest Blood Stem Cell Donors Registry, has more than 4,83,763 donors registered. DATRI is working towards creating a wide and diverse database of potential Blood Stem Cell Donors that can be accessed by any patient living anywhere in the world in need of a Blood Stem Cell Donation. 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.