This International Women’s Day I feel blessed honoured to be a woman for I am not only a Life Giver but a Lifesaver too!
God has given women the gift to bring a new life into the world but I am privileged to have got the double gift of not only bringing a life into the world that is my beautiful daughter but help give a second chance at life to a person suffering from life threatening blood cancer by donating my blood stem cells.
It was in 2011 when I was working with Histogenetics I registered as a potential blood stem cell donor with DATRI, India’s largest Blood Stem Cell Donors Registry. In fact, I was one of the most enthusiastic person who wanted to be the first one to give the swab sample when the drive happened. Time went by and I moved on from Histogenetics to DATRI. The first few years I looked forward to be identified as a match for a patient and I had the conviction that someday I will be found to be a match.
One day in the month of November, my colleague broke the news that my blood stem cells was a 10/10 match for a patient suffering from Aplastic Anemia. This is a rare blood disorder in which the body stops producing enough new blood cells. If left untreated, it can lead to fatal complications such as bleeding, leukemia or other serious blood conditions. The minute he shared the news I was on cloud nine. I jumped with joy and felt for a minute that I had won a grand race. After 11 years I got the opportunity to be that hope and saviour for the patient. I felt I was the Chosen One. It was the time for me to Act and Gift a Life!
I shared this exciting news with my husband, my parents & my in-laws. They were used to hearing stories from me many patients who are unable to get a match and their lives nipped in the bud and of course some stories with a happy ending. But that day when they came to know I was going to be the lifesaver, they were equally happy and built my strength to go forward with the decision.
I prepared myself for the big day. Since I had been part of many donations myself I was quite familiar with the process, yet I had my share of tension. I went through all the health tests and the doctors declared me for the donation. My colleagues were more than nice and helpful. I was made to feel so special and I must say also pampered. My reporting boss was there at the hospital on the day with my husband Rajeev and daughter Spandana.
The whole exercise was so a rewarding experience. The thought that I was the ray of hope for someone is a feeling which is difficult to express in words. When I look back today I realise that what I went through for donating my blood stem cells is not even an iota what a blood cancer patient goes through. I spent 4 hours for the donation process but that little time could be a game changer for someone who could go on to live for more than 40 years. Isn’t this nothing short of a miracle?
Today I feel blessed and honoured and that I got the opportunity to both nurture also gift a life. Truly I am proud to be a Woman of Worth!
DATRI Blood Stem Cell Donors Registry, a not-for-profit organisation, has facilitated more than 1042 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 5,00,188 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:
Saranya Srinivasan works with DATRI as Head- Transplant Services –International. She has recently donated her blood stem cell for a patient suffering from life-threatening Aplastic Anemia.