When I got the call informing me that I was found to be a stem cell match, I wasn’t entirely convinced. Was this a legitimate request, was there any commercial angle to this, would they take my bone marrow? I spoke to a colleague who had lost his wife to cancer – for whom I had registered to donate. I spoke to my father in law who told me to go ahead.
The DATRI coordinator explained the process to me thoroughly. I did my own research and read up about it. While all of these went a long way to address my concerns, what ultimately convinced me was that it was for a six-year-old child, for whom a transplant with my blood stem cells may be a last resort.
Yes, they were some minor discomforts when I was taking the injections. But I would tell myself that my symptoms paled in comparison with what the child must be going through. I would imagine their pain, the chemotherapy they must be undergoing, and I knew that I would never give up. Further, DATRI was really professional during the process, making it smooth for me and keeping track of my work and travel schedule. My entire family was supporting me; they came together to encourage me. My wife kept telling me that I was doing the right thing.
On the morning of the donation, while on my way to the hospital, I watched the video of Charat Singh. I realized how rare such unrelated matches are in Punjab and how such few people have registered from my home state. I have been tremendously lucky to have been found to be a match. Today, I have no after-effects from the donation. A week after the donation, I was back to playing table tennis and participating in tournaments reaching the semi-finals, as I have done in the past.
I know that some people say that what I have done is amazing. But I don’t think so. If they only knew the truth of it and how simple the process is, anyone would do it. I would encourage each of us to register with DATRI. Matches are so rare, that more the number of potential donors, the better the probability of unrelated donor matches and of saving lives. If you are found to be a match, do read all the information on the DATRI site and study the FAQs. Be informed and fully understand the donation process. Do not feel scared. Cancer is curable and you are the Cure.”
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.