I first came to know about DATRI Blood Stem Cell Donors Registry, when I was attending the awareness session which was organised by Aby Sam John and his team. Aby was leading the team that organized a stem cell donor registration drive at my organisation UST in Kochi, Kerala.
His experience sharing about DATRI’S life-saving mission was indeed a transformational moment for me and I felt this was an opportunity for me to save someone’s life. I mentally and physically became ready to register as a Blood Stem Cell Donor. I registered myself as a donor in the year 2017, but when months passed by, I thought I would never get a chance to donate Blood Stem Cells to someone who is waiting for the match.
In January 2018, I received a call from DATRI and they informed me that I was the only match to the patient who is waiting for a Blood Stem Cell Transplant. I was waiting for this moment for so long and finally, it happened and I was so excited about it. DATRI’s representative Mr Deepu was explaining to me the process, but I interrupted and said I am ready to donation process and you can proceed.
Deepu and his team explained to me every bit of information that I needed to know before starting the Blood stem cell donation process. He arranged a meeting with Amritha hospital, Kochi’s Oncologist to discuss all my queries related to the process. before starting the procedure, I became familiar with the process and I was all set to begin the donation process
The series of tests started to ensure that I was fit for the process. Every successful test result brought me a step closer to my dream of gifting a life. It took a bit of time but finally, I was confirmed that I am fit for the blood stem cell donation.
I remember one incident which is evergreen in my heart. During a test, I had to be injected, right after the injection an elderly nurse at Amrita hospital said: “Sorry”.
I was surprised. I asked her why she said so.
She responded with a warm smile: “Sorry because you had to suffer a little bit of pain.”
I became a bit emotional. I said: “Thank you for making me comfortable.”
It was such a small incident, but it was a great gesture of genuine humanity and care. Yes, the world is indeed a beautiful place with such human beings around us.
Since this was a Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Donation(PBSC), the next step was to get myself injected with a medication that would increase the number of blood stem cells in the bloodstream. I was already informed that during the medication process that would last 5 days till the actual donation date, I might feel feverish. I was also given tablets. Yes, I did feel feverish, but that wasn’t just because of the medication, it was also because of the excitement level that I had. The Donation day was approaching, and I was feeling charged up every day. This adrenaline rush helped me sail through the medication process quite comfortably.
My Donation day was in the last week of May 2018, which miraculously was very close to my birthday and this gave me new meaning to my life and that too saving a life for someone who is waiting for the match. I think it was the entire universe conspiring to help me achieve something that I dreamed about.
On the Donation day, I was welcomed warmly by Deepu and the hospital staff. Before getting into it the process, Deepu detailed to me the Blood Stem Cell Donation process. After changing the hospital clothes, I was taken to the procedure room. There was a comfortable cot arranged in the middle of the room. A television was mounted on the wall opposite. The tubes were connected to both my hands. My blood stem was to be taken through equipment that would extract blood stem cells out of it and the blood was returned to my body through the other hand. The duration of the process was 4 to 5 hours and I was accompanied by a nurse in the room who kept checking my vitals all through the process. This ensured that while the process was being done, my body was in good condition. I felt quite relaxed and comfortable. All through the process, I kept watching the television. Being a movie buff, I got a chance to watch two comedy movies back-to-back on the TV. This helped to ensure that I kept laughing throughout the whole process. By the time the second movie was into its climax, my donation process was also completed.
When I walked out of that room, I had a spring attached to my steps. I went in as a mere mortal and I was walking out as a superhero.
The surprises didn’t end there. Deepu and the hospital staff and the doctors were waiting for me with a birthday cake. I celebrated my birthday in the hospital staff room by cutting the cake. It was the day I felt I was reborn as a transformed human being, as a man on a mission to save lives.
It has been 4 years now. I am now 42, all hale and hearty. I run 10-15 kilometres a week and keep myself fit. Who knows, I might get another opportunity to be a donor?
Thanks to team DATRI, your life-saving mission not only save a life but also gave my life a whole new purpose.
To all those good souls out there- this is your chance to become a superhero. All it takes is a simple yes. Think NOT, just say YES. This our chance to bring sunshine is to someone else’s life.
You can also save life like me, all you need to do is to register yourself as Blood Stem Cell donor with DATRI#GiftALife
DATRI Blood Stem Cell Donors Registry, a not-for-profit organisation, has facilitated more than 976 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 4,78,685 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.
About the Author:
Nipun Varma is an IT professional moonlighting as a writer. He is the author of the Amazon bestselling book “Adventures of an Indian Techie”. He is currently working with UST, Kochi as a Program Manager. He believes his life’s mission is to share stories and spread happiness.