DKMS-BMST organizes blood stem cell donor registration drive to save the life of a five-year-old from Gujarat
Juhit, a 5-year-old boy from Vadodara was diagnosed with Pure Red Cell Aplasia when he was 9 months old. Pure Red Cell Aplasia is a type of disease in which the bone marrow fails to produce red cells in the blood. Currently, Juhit has to undergo blood transfusions every month to manage the disease. However, his condition can be treated with a blood stem cell transplant from a matching blood stem cell donor.
DKMS BMST Foundation India, a non-profit organization dedicated to fight against blood cancer and related disorders is coordinating the search for a matching donor for Juhit. To reach out to people across India, DKMS-BMST has launched a virtual drive for Juhit where one can register online to be a potential lifesaver and save patients like Juhit. Link to register: www.dkms-bmst.org/Juhit
Dr Santanu Sen, Bone Marrow Transplant specialist, Hemato Oncologist at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani hospital, Andheri Mumbai says: “In India, every 5 minutes someone is diagnosed with a form of blood cancer or other blood disorder. A stem cell transplant is the only treatment option for many blood disorders such as Thalassemia, Sickle Cell disease and Aplastic Anemia. It is also the only hope for survival for many patients with advanced cancers. Patients and donors of Indian origin have unique HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen) characteristics that are severely under-represented in the global database, which makes the probability of finding a suitable donor even more difficult. This increases the need for more people of Indian ethnicity to register themselves as a potential blood stem cell donor and help save a life.”
“We are determined to saving lives and we cannot let the current pandemic crisis to slow down our efforts. Patients such as Juhit are still in critical need of an unrelated matching donor, so, through this virtual drive we want to appeal to everyone between 18 to 50 years of age to come forward and register to be a potential donor”, says Patrick Paul, CEO, DKMS-BMST.
Being a Gujarati, his chances of finding a match are slim as this community is poorly under-represented in the donor registry. Therefore, Juhit’s family along with DKMS-BMST is making an urgent appeal to all and especially to people from Gujarat to register as potential donors. “I am waiting for a lifesaving donor for my son who can help him lead a normal life as a 5-year-old.As parents, we want nothing more than to see our baby fulfill his dreams, enjoy his childhood, and spend memorable moments with his family and friends. I am certain that we can win this battle with YOUR help,” says Payal, Juhit’s mother.
What is the registration process?
People who are interested and fit the eligibility criteria can register at: www.dkms-bmst.org/juhit
All it takes is five minutes of your time and a simple 3 step process:
Step 1: Visit the site, fill up an online form and you will receive a DIY swab kit at home.
Step 2: Once you receive the swab kit, fill out the consent form and take a tissue sample from the inside of your cheeks with 3 cotton swabs provided in the kit.
Step 3: Send back your swab sample in the pre-paid envelope provided.
DKMS laboratory will then analyze your tissue type and your details will be available in the global search for blood stem cell donors. If you do come up as a suitable donor, DKMS-BMST will get in touch with you straight away. Once you come up as a match, blood stem cells will be obtained from the bloodstream using a procedure called Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Collection, which is similar to a blood donation wherein only your stem cells are taken. This is a very safe, non-surgical outpatient procedure.