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'First ever' in Gujarat: Three survivors meet life-savers who donated their blood stem cells

Counterview Desk
Datri, considered India’s largest unrelated blood stem cell donor registry, founded in 2009 by Raghu Rajagopal, Dr Nezih Cereb and Dr Soo Young Yang as not-for-profit organization in order to help patients seeking to find a healthy, willing and genetically matched donor, on Saturday introduced three survivors to their respective life-savers, a “first ever” in Gujarat.
Registered with Bone Marrow Donors Worldwide, Datri claims it has 4,13,879 registered voluntary donors, who “helped facilitate” 608 blood stem cell donations, even as “serving” 59 hospitals over 10 years. The life savers were introduced on the occasion of the World Marrow Donor Day 2019.

A Datri note:

On Saturday, Datri, India’s largest adult unrelated blood stem donor registry, organized a unique event showcasing a very rare emotional connect between three donors and their respective survivors. Three donors Divyesh Shah, Binal Patel and Yashvant Polkar, each of them have saved a life and a family by donating their blood stem cells.
This event was specially organized today to mark WMDD and celebrate the spirit of selfless donors. These three donors who were strangers till date with their recipients are now connected life-long with them and their families.
Keerthan N, an only child was two years and six months old when he was diagnosed with muco polysacchridosis. The world shattered for Keerthan’s parents, and the only hope of his survival was Blood Stem Cell transplant. Unfortunately, they could not find a match within their family.
They found a ray of hope when they discovered that Dartri had a registered donor who was a perfect match for Keerthan. With support of Dr Sunil Bhatt, one of India’s leading paediatric haematology, oncology and bone marrow transplantation specialist, the transplant took place on August 31, 2018 at NH Bangalore.
Yashvant Polekar, an employee of Dharmanandan Dimanod factory, Surat, is registered as a driver in the office. When he was told that he was a match for a young child, he was happy to go ahead with the donation. While most of the people he consulted were not very encouraging, he still went ahead. Yashvant is the first bone marrow donor from diamond industry and second bone marrow donor of Surat city.
Krishananshu Chakraborty, a young boy form Tripura, was diagnosed with relapsed Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia. His father, who is a doctor by profession, could not find any match for their only son within the family. But they were extremely happy when they found out that Datri had a matched donor in their registry.
Divyesh Hareshbhai had registered with Datri in 2017 at a camp that was organized for another patient who was searching match. Divyesh had not just registered during that camp but had also volunteered to help register more donors.
In August 2018, when Datri informed him that he was a match to the young boy, he did not think for a second and agreed to go ahead with the donation. For him it was a noble cause and he was proud to be part of a life-saving mission. His wife was extremely supportive and encouraged him at every stage.
Divyesh was born with thalassemia major. When he was 16 his family got to know about Datri blood stem cell donors registry through Dr Sandeep Shah. As luck would have it, they not just found a match donor with Datri but within 50 days the transplant took place at the Tata Medical Centre, Kolkata, under Dr Saurabh Bhave.
Binal Patel, a 32-year old teacher, had registered as potential blood stem cell donor at a community gathering. She was very happy when she discovered that she was a match to a young boy. Binal’s cousin sister Jinal Patel was Gujarat’s first donor and was a great moral support for her. Being an emotional person Binal was very keen to donate on her own son’s birthday. On the donation day she had tears of joy, as though she was giving birth to another son.
Speaking on the occasion, a senior doctor from Ahmedabad, said, “We have a huge number of patients suffering from fatal blood disorders like blood cancer and thalassemia major among others for which the last resort is blood stem cell transplant. For patients who could not find a match within their family, there was no hope. It is only with the help of registries like Datri that we have a ray of hope for such patients.”
Typically, these patients would first try to find a match within their family and there are 25% chances to find a match among family members. Else, they have to look out for a perfect match from a registry like Datri.
As of today, the probability of finding a matched donor is only 1 in 10,000 to one in over a million, as the total number of volunteer donors registered is very low. There is only a little more than four lakh blood stem cell donors registered with Datri as of today, which is less than 0.33% of the total population of India.
“Such an occasion is an additional motivation to work harder and make the registry grow. The joy that a recipient’s family receives and the satisfaction a donor expresses is in itself a testimony of hope. As a registry, we are immensely motivated to spread the awareness on the significance of becoming a blood stem cell donor so that, many more lives can be saved,” says Jalpa Sukhanandi, head, donor recruitment and counseling, Datri.
There are only 34,000 donors registered with Datri as potential blood stem cell donors from Gujarat, a state with 6.93 crore population. This definitely calls for more awareness in the city, about the importance of saving lives through blood stem cell donation for blood cancer patients.

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