UPDATE: For the latest on how to help Amit, join the registry, organize a bone marrow drive, and lots more, visit http://amitguptaneedsyou.com/
Two weeks ago I got a call from my doctor, who I’d gone to see the day before because I’d been feeling worn out and was losing weight, and wasn’t sure why.
He was brief: “Amit, you’ve got Acute Leukemia. You need to enter treatment right away.”
I was terrified. I packed a backpack full of clothes, went to the hospital as he’d instructed, and had transfusions through the night to allow me to take a flight home at 7am the next day. I Googled acute leukemia as I lay in my hospital bed, learning that if it hadn’t been caught, I’d have died within weeks.
I have a couple more months of chemo to go, then the next step is a bone marrow transplant. As Jay and Tony describe below, minorities are severely underrepresented in the bone marrow pool, and I need help.
A few ways to help:
- If you’re South Asian, get a free test by mail. You rub your cheeks with a cotton swab and mail it back. It’s easy.
- If you’re in NYC, you can go to this event my friends are putting on.
- If you know any South Asians (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, or Sri Lanka), please point ‘em to the links above.
*UPDATE 1* Organize a donor drive near you (the most helpful thing you could possibly do!) email firstname.lastname@example.org. They’ll send you kits, flyers, tell you what to say, and make the whole process easy cheesy.
*UPDATE 2* Want to get a free test, but not in the US. Here’s a list of international donor registries that are globally searchable.
My friend Amit Gupta founded my favorite photography site Photojojo. A few weeks ago, he was diagnosed with leukemia. Amit is one of the nicest, most genuine, most creative people you could ever meet. Prior to founding the awesome Photojojo, he also co-founded Jelly in 2006 in NYC, a coworking community, that’s now spread to 60 cities across the world and helped spark the coworking revolution. It looks like Amit will need a bone marrow transplant quite soon. We can help him with that.
Unlike blood transfusions, finding a genetic match for bone marrow that his body will accept is no easy task. The national bone marrow registry has 9.5 million records on file, yet the chances of someone from South Asian descent of finding a match are only 1 in 20,000.
This is where we come in. We’re going to destroy those odds.
How? By finding and registering as many people of South Asian descent as we possibly can.
Tests are easy– a simple swab of the cheek. If you’re a match, the donation involves an outpatient procedure. It’s not fun, but it’s not dangerous either. And doing it could save a life.
We are encouraging anyone of South Asian descent to take a test to see if you’re a match.
You can get a free test by mail, or, if you’re in New York, you can join us Friday, October 14th for a special party to rally support.
We’ll have test kits on hand at the party, as well as music, booze, and maybe even a photo booth. It will, for the first time, combine a House 2.0-style party with a New Work City-style party, and if you’ve ever been to either, you know they are always something special.
Please spread the word and please do everything you can to help Amit beat leukemia. He’s a superstar.
Much thanks to Tony and pals for organizing this event, and EVERYONE who’s been tweeting and reblogging.
Please help get the word out any way you can. My life quite literally depends on it.