Nalini Ambady, a professor at Stanford and a mother of two teenage daughters, is suffering from a leukaemia relapse and has 8 weeks to find a South Asian bone marrow donor match to help her fight the leukaemia. A few of her students had started a Facebook campaign to help find her a match but none could be found in the US National Marrow Donor Program, with a database of 10 million registered donors (Source: DNA). As leukaemia patients are most likely to find a matching donor within the same racial and ethnic group, the Kerala born professor has increased chances of finding a donor here in India.
A website along with the Facebook campaign called ‘Help Nalini Now’ have been in the constant search for donors. In order to find a match, the campaign along with DATRI – a non-profit organisation working towards creating a wide and diverse database of potential donors – is conducting swab drives at various places, the details of which can be found on the Facebook wall updates. The first drive in India took place at Kochi in Kerala on this Friday and Saturday. A swab drive also took place in Mumbai on this Saturday.
The ‘Nalini needs you’ campaign has a twofold benefit. When a person registers at such a swab drive, their details are entered into the DATRI database, from where it can be matched against potential recipients in the future. This will not only help Nalini for a transplant but also other Indians suffering from leukaemia living anywhere in the world, in need of a stem cell transplant.