India’s first unrelated Bone Marrow Donor meets his recipient for the first time

Posted on Thursday, May 18th, 2017 and is filed under Inspiration. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

DATRI celebrates the real life Hero from Bengaluru who gave a 6 year old the gift of life!

Bangalore, 18 May 2017, DATRI, India’s largest adult unrelated Blood Stem Cell Donors Registry, today presented India’s first unrelated bone marrow donor, Naval Chaudary in a very unique yet emotional event.

Celebrating the real life hero, Naval, a 28 year old professional met Fateh Singh, 6 year old recipient for the first time today in Bengaluru. The little boy who came along with his family from home town, Amritsar, was super excited to meet his donor – his superhero. Also present on the occasion was Dr Sunil Bhat, the renowned Paediatric Haemato-Oncologist from Mazumdar Shaw Cancer Centre, who carried out this transplant in May 2016.

Fateh was diagnosed with Thalassemia Major at the age of one and half years.  During the first blood transfusion, it was discovered that his body was unable to produce antibodies as well. As a result, blood transfusion was not possible for him and he required an urgent blood stem cell transplant.

While on the other side of the country, Naval a young professional from Bengaluru registered with DATRI in 2015 in a camp held at his work place. Within a year of registering he received a call from DATRI informing him that he was a perfect match for a 6 year old suffering an acute form of Thalassemia and required a blood stem cell transplant urgently.

“I was very happy to hear that I was a potential match for a patient. But then I was told that the donation process had to be through a bone marrow harvest. I was a bit hesitant initially, but then I researched about the procedure and was also counselled by Dr Bhat. I realised that saving a life is more important than the type of procedure and the fact that a little effort from my part could save a child felt like I was the chosen one. I had no more doubts and was happy to go ahead” says a beaming Naval.

As per the registry protocol, the identity of donors and recipients is kept anonymous for one year. Post completion of one year, with consent of both recipient and donor, DATRI facilitates the meeting between the two along with their loved ones.

Speaking on the occasion Dr Sunil Bhat said, “We have a number of patients suffering from fatal blood disorders like Blood cancer and Thalassemia among others for which the last resort is blood stem cell transplant. For many years, there was no hope for such patients. It is only with registries like DATRI, we have a ray of hope for such patients.”

He further added, “For non-malignant conditions such as Thalassemia, a patient will respond well to transplant when the donated cells are directly harvested from the donor’s marrow. Donation of blood stem cells through a peripheral collection or from the marrow are both established procedures, followed across the world.”

Karnataka has over 61 million population, however, it is appalling that only around 27,000 potential blood stem cell donors are registered with DATRI till date. This definitely calls for higher awareness across the state, on the importance of saving lives through blood stem cell donation.

Commenting on the proud moment, Raghu Rajagopal, Co-Founder & CEO of DATRI, said, “We have facilitated 255 donations, of which 250 are PBSC donations. I am extremely proud about this young man Naval, who is now India’s first unrelated bone marrow donor through our registry. His selfless act has gifted a life and a child back to a family. This is a very significant moment in the Indian history of blood stem cell transplants. DATRI has facilitated 4 more bone marrow harvests till date.”

He further added, “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 inspired to spread the awareness on the significance of becoming a blood stem cell donor to save lives.”

The event was to celebrate and acknowledge a selfless act, to come forward and donate blood stem cells to a complete stranger is in itself a priceless form of giving. This is a special occasion to celebrate the ‘selfless giver’ and the ‘courageous spirit’ of the recipient who waded through all adversities. For a patient suffering from fatal blood disorders like blood cancer, a blood stem cell transplant is the only hope of life.  The probability of finding a matched blood stem cell donor is 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 2 Million. Every match is close to a miracle. If a match is found, that donor is probably the only person who can save the patient.

About DATRI

DATRI is India’s largest adult unrelated blood stem cell donors registry.  Founded in 2009 by Raghu Rajagopal, Dr. Nezih Cereb and Dr. Soo Young Yang, DATRI’s vision is to help every patient seeking a blood stem cell donor find a healthy, willing, genetically matched donor. DATRI has more than 2, 11,000 registered voluntary donors, has facilitated 255 stem cell donations including 29 donations for international patients. DATRI works with 16 collection centers and has serviced 39 Transplant Centers across the world.
This not-for-profit organization is registered with Bone Marrow Donors Worldwide and is a member of World Marrow Donors Association (WMDA).  For more details please visit, www.datri.org.

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