Raksha Bandhan, a festival that resonates with every corner of India, a celebration that encapsulates the profound connection between a brother and sister. It’s not merely a thread tied around a wrist, but a pledge of love, care, and protection. However, for me, Raksha Bandhan transcended its conventional meaning when life thrust me into a battle against fate and adversity.

The year 2020 plunged my family into a whirlwind of emotions when we learned of my brother’s diagnosis—Acute Myeloid Leukemia with Myeloid Sarcoma—a rare and intricate form of blood cancer. The doctors shared with us that time was running out and my brother may not be able to survive beyond 15 days. It was like the world came crashing down on us. We were devastated and completely at a loss on even how to respond. The thought that my brother was at the fag of his life was something we could not take it.  We decided to go ahead and explore whatever possible to save him. The treatment process was mentally and physically challenging, testing every ounce of strength within us.

Through the twists and turns of one and a half years, my brother endured surgeries and grueling chemotherapy sessions. Fatigue, pain, and despair became his companions, casting shadows over our hopes. Yet, amidst this storm, a glimmer of hope emerged when destiny whispered that I was a perfect match to donate my blood stem cells to my brother. This revelation was not just a medical marvel; it was an embodiment of the true spirit of Raksha Bandhan—protecting through life-giving sacrifice.

After a very tough battle of 1.3 years, in Dec 2021 he was taken up for stem cell transplant after 2 surgeries, 8 chemotherapy cycles, and various other complications …

Choosing to donate blood stem cells was a turning point, not solely for my brother but for my own soul. It was an affirmation of love’s resilience and Raksha Bandhan’s essence—the unwavering protection a sister provides, even if it involves giving a part of oneself. This act breathed life into the festival’s symbolism, turning it from a ritual into a profound testimony of love and kinship.

The journey left indelible imprints on my heart, and today, my fervent desire is to ignite a spark in others. A spark that leads them to become donors, to stand as a beacon of hope for those battling blood cancer and disorders. Imagine the magnitude of change one can bring, the possibility of becoming a new sibling to someone in need, reshaping not just lives, but the course of their own Raksha Bandhan narratives.

On this sacred occasion of Raksha Bandhan, my heart extends warmth to all souls, wishing that they experience the depth of this exquisite relationship. May this festival etch in our souls the incredible power of love, sacrifice, and the potential to breathe life into others. Happy Raksha Bandhan to each heart out there, brimming with love and empathy.

In the spirit of this festival, remember that you too can be a blood stem cell donor and illuminate countless lives.

To embark on this transformative journey, reach out to info@datri.org and become the protector someone is yearning for—a true embodiment of the Raksha Bandhan spirit.

Manasa Lokanath donated her blood stem cell to her brother and has the privilege to be a lifesaver. Manasa believes that through her article she can motivate and inspire people to step forward and register as potential blood stem cell donors.