You are what YOU think
MMF seeks your attention
Bone marrow donation for Siddhu, and the worldwide bone marrow registry
March 19, 2020 | Vol 2020.1
Hope you all are staying safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the people in this world haven’t seen such events in our lifetimes. These occasions remind us to be humble as one can never be prepared for the curveballs our lives throw at us. Time and again, humans have always been resilient to challenging circumstances and collectively worked together to find solutions irrespective of their ethnic, social or political standing.
We became aware of an unfortunate situation that occurred to an 11-year-old Siddharth (Siddhu), who is battling Leukemia and is in a desperate requirement of a bone marrow transplant to survive. Since Siddhu is of Indian descent, the likelihood of finding a suitable donor is very high with someone from the same ethnicity. Speaking with his relatives, we had a reality check on how dire the situation is with lack of donor representation in the worldwide registry from south-east Asia, especially Indians. Taking these into perspective, we are reaching out to the MMF community with a two-prong request:
1. Help Siddhu with a bone marrow transplant and/or spread the word
At age 5, Siddhu a New Jersey resident, a fun-loving, and a passionate dinosaur lover was diagnosed with Leukemia. After undergoing chemotherapy for 3 years, Siddhu successfully defeated cancer in 2017. As fate would have it, the Leukemia returned, this time only more aggressive. The doctors concluded that a bone marrow transplant is the only option left for him to survive. Siddhu’s family has been in search of a bone marrow donor through the worldwide bone marrow registry, and luck hasn’t favored yet.
Siddhu is of Indian descent, and doctors have indicated that the likelihood of finding a match for him is very high among south-east Asians, especially Indians.
We are asking for your help in spreading the word about Siddhu with the hope that a good Samaritan responds to help him timely. We also ask that you consider registering to become a bone marrow donor. If you are a match to Siddhu and can donate your bone marrow, you would be saving the life of a child and be giving their family a lifetime’s worth of happiness and joy.
There are three steps to becoming a bone marrow donor for Siddhu, in the following order:
a. Register as a bone marrow donor in the worldwide registry (see section 2 below for details)
b. Send a cheek swab sample to determine if you are a match (kit will be sent to you)
c. Donate blood if you are a match to Siddhu
Modern bone marrow transplant process is like simple blood donation
Contrary to popular belief, modern bone marrow transplant has become a process not very different from blood donation. Blood drawn from a matched person will have their stem cells extracted and transfused into the recipient. The donor can get back to their normal activities the next day. Anyone between the ages 18 and 60 can register to be a donor. Details about signing up for bone marrow registry is in section 2 below. More information about bone marrow transplant: https://bethematch.org/transplant-basics/
2. Sign up for worldwide bone marrow registry
As we learned about Siddhu, a much bigger prevalent issue became evident to us - that people of Indian origin are underrepresented in the worldwide bone marrow registry. Bone marrow transplant is the only survival option for several life-threatening conditions such as Leukemia, Lymphoma, Immune system and metabolic disorders. Regardless of whether you are a match to Siddhu, we ask that you consider signing up for the worldwide registry, so you can help a sick person to lead a wholesome life.
It takes around 15 mins to register using the links below. The information you provide here will let you join the registry while also providing a reference that you wanted to help Siddhu.
· If you live in the US: https://join.BeTheMatch.org/SaveSiddhu
· If you live in India: https://datri.org/you-may-be-match-for-siddhartha/
Cheek swab sample to determine match
Upon sign up, a kit will arrive at your doorstep with detailed instructions on how to take a cheek swab sample. It will come in a return postage paid box/envelope.
No cost in registering for donors below 44 years of age; MMF will pay half the cost for registrants 44 years of age or above
Anyone between the ages of 18 and 60 who meets health guidelines and is willing to donate to any patient in need can join the registry. There is no cost to registrants within the age group 18 to 44 and are encouraged to register as a donor due to their higher chances of being matched for a potential donation. People who have recently travelled out of the US are also eligible to be a donor.
There is a one-time $100 cost for registrants above 44 years of age, because there are additional steps to process cheek swab samples. MMF is willing to front half the costs for such registrants.
Donation optional even if you are a match to someone in need
If you happen to be a match to someone in need, the procedure is quite comparable to blood donation. People who donate bone marrow can get back to their normal activities the very next day. You are not required to donate if you are not comfortable, even if you are a match to someone in need. Simply registering to donate will help build the database of south-asian ethnic donors. If a friend or a family member happened to need a bone marrow transplant, your information would already have been available in the worldwide database and you do not need to begin the process from the ground up.
At MMF, we strongly believe that every person is just an extension to any other person in this world and are connected through our hearts. Money cannot alone save a life, as we have learned from Siddhu, and a fellow human’s compassion and willingness to come together and help can make our lives happier and fulfilling.
Please reach out to us at email@example.com if you are able to help Siddhu and we will put you in touch with his family, or if you have additional questions.
MMF is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization under internal revenue code, with federal tax ID 81-3554636.
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