Story #42 of 50 days, 50 Stories Campaign
An interview with Amay who wanted to register two months prior he became 18 so that when he is 18, he is ready for donation immediately
I did an interview with Amay, an under 18 boy who wanted to register with DATRI prior to two months of his 18th birthday so that by the time he is actually 18, his HLA report will be ready and he will be able to donate his blood stem cells to a needy patient. When I got to know about this, I was curious that how can a young boy be so desperate to register with himself as a voluntary blood stem cell donor and to by paying the cost of his HLA typing from his pocket money. Are you also curious as much as I am? To find out, please read the answers given by him
Anuradha – Tell us about yourself.
Amay – Hi! I am Amay. I am pursuing graduation at S D College, Chandigarh. Having my father diagnosed and cured of blood cancer, I always wanted to do some work in this field.
Anuradha – How did you get to know about DATRI
Amay – I first heard the word “DATRI” when my father was diagnosed with Blood Cancer (Nov. 2008) and I was only 5 years old. I didn’t understand anything at all then. When I grew up and when my father completed 7 years of his BLOOD STEM CELL TRANSPLANT, my parents shared with me how difficult it was to find an unrelated matched donor in India then. Having no matched blood stem cell donor within the family, my father’s consulting doctor at CMC, Vellore decided to look for an unrelated donor.
My parents told me that until January 2009, there was no blood stem cell donors’ registry in India. In January 2009, DATRI did its first donor registration drive in Mumbai. Still, we did not get a donor from India from about 700 donors who registered with DATRI in January-February 2009. Ultimately my father found a matched donor from Italy in September 2009 and he underwent BLOOD STEM CELL TRANSPLANT in October 2009. My father was lucky to find a donor from a different ethnicity but not everyone is so lucky. This is how I got to know about DATRI and was wondering if I could register as a blood stem cell donor with DATRI so that I can also save somebody’s life like the Italian donor who saved my father’s life. My parents told me that I shall have to wait until I am 18 years old to register as a donor.
Anuradha – What motivated you to register with DATRI?
Amay – Seeing that how much my father had to struggle so much to find a matched blood stem cell donor, I felt like no one should struggle like this. So I promised myself that I would do from my side as much as possible to lessen the pain of finding a donor for the children suffering from Thalassemia and the patients diagnosed with blood cancer, aplastic anemia, etc. Not only that, but I have also joined DATRI as a volunteer to support the DATRI representative for executing the drives, organizing the drives, etc.
Anuradha – I heard that you registered with DATRI by paying for your own HLA typing. Is it true?
Amay – Yes. That’s right. DATRI being an NGO, I decided to pay for my own HLA typing report.
Anuradha – Did your parents give you money for registering with DATRI?
Amay – No, I registered for the HLA typing with my own pocket money.
Anuradha – Can you briefly tell us about the registration process with DATRI?
Amay – The registration process is very simple. The potential donor needs to fill up two forms. In the first form, the donor needs fill up his/her contact details so that he/ she can be contacted upon being a matched donor. The other form is a consent form which states that the registration process and the donation process explained by the DATRI representative is completely understood by me and I shall donate my blood stem cells whenever required. After that, two cotton swabs are used to swab in the inner cheek to collect cheek cells/saliva samples on it. Then these swabs are sealed in a cover and sent to a laboratory for HLA typing. Following the swabbing, a DATRI gift card containing the bar code/ grid id and the contact information of DATRI is given to the donor.
Anuradha – Did a representative from DATRI explain to you about the donation process at the time of registration?
Amay -Yes. The representatives from DATRI explained the donation process very elaborately.
Anuradha – If yes, can you please describe it here briefly for our readers?
Amay – I was really surprised to know such a simple process of donation which can give me a chance to be a superhero in someone’s life!!!……
So, when your blood stem cells become a match with that of a patient, you will receive a call from a DATRI representative. Then, if you are ready for donation, first of all, your master health check-up will be done which includes some blood tests and some body-screening tests to find out whether you are physically fit for donation or not. If you are found to be physically fit, you will be given one injection for five days to stimulate the growth of blood stem cells in your body. On the fifth day, you will be taken to the nearest partner hospital of DATRI wherever you are staying. On the day of donation, needles will be inserted into both hands. From one hand the blood will be taken out. It will be circulated through a machine where the extra blood stem cells generated will be separated and the remaining blood will be given back to you from your second hand. The process takes about four hours of time. After that, the donor can take a rest for about an hour and then can go home. That’s it. By sparing two days, one for the medical health check-up and the other for the donation, you can gift a whole life to somebody in need!
Anuradha – Were you scared or had any doubt about any process followed by DATRI at the time of donation?
Amay – Not at all as someone who did it for my father, I can also do that. Also, the process was explained very clearly and all my doubts were cleared.
Anuradha -Your message to the fellow students.
Amay – Do not back away. This will be one of your once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to save someone’s life. A patient out there struggles for life-and-death. It should be your duty to save the life of a fellow human being.
Anuradha – Message to the parents who are scared or have some doubts about the donation process
Amay – Please do not be scared. Being a DATRI volunteer, I have seen the process. This is an extremely safe process where the donor is under constant surveillance by a team of doctors and highly-trained professionals. The chances of a health-hazard are virtually non-existent. If you have any doubts regarding the process, please do not hesitate to call the number on the DATRI gift-card. The representative from DATRI will explain each and every detail of the process repeatedly until your doubts have been resolved.
Anuradha – Please tell us about your overall feeling about being a voluntary blood stem cell donor.
Amay – It is an honor for me to be registered with DATRI and have a chance at making an actual difference in someone’s life.
Anuradha – Thank you so much Amay. Please let us know, if someone wants to wants to register with DATRI as a blood stem cell donor, how he/she can do that?
Amay – One can go to DATRI website and select I want to support. There click the below register button and fill up the form. The registration kit will be couriered to your home and you will be guided on how to take cheek swabs. Fill-up the forms, take cheek swabs and seal them in a cover, provided in the kit. Then send it back to the DATRI head office. Voila!!!……now you have become a registered donor with DATRI!!!… Also, DATRI holds the awareness sessions cum blood stem cell donor registration drives in colleges, universities, corporate, religious places like Gurudware, Temples, Churches ect. You can connect with the DATRI representative on the phone numbers given on the DATRI website.
DATRI is a Not-for-Profit organization founded in 2009 with a mission to save lives of those suffering from life-threatening Fatal blood disorders like Blood Cancer, Thalassemia, Leukemia, Aplastic Anemia, Sickle Cell Anaemia, etc.
DATRI is registered with the Government of India as a Section 8 organization, and all monetary contributions towards DATRI are subject to 80G exemptions
About the Author:
Anuradha Tandon holds an M. Tech. degree in Control & Automation Engineering. She has total 12 years of teaching experience in various universities across India. ”. After 12 years of fulfilling teaching career, she wanted to give it back to the society. So, she decided to join DATRI in November 2019, having gone through the pain of finding a donor for a family member. She holds a role as a Senior Associate – Partnerships and Medical Affairs.