Jennifer Aaker, a Stanford professor, spent Wednesday urging people in the city to become bone marrow donors. She will do the same in Delhi next week.
But why would a Stanford professor want to encourage Indians to become donors? Because one of their alumni, Sameer Bhatia, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur of Indian origin, lost the battle against blood cancer two years ago at the age of 32. Bhatia’s last wish was to bring together 25,000 bone marrow donors of Indian origin. because of the difficulty he had in finding a donor.
HT had first reported about this initiative on November 14.
In order to make his wish a reality and help many Indians like him, Stanford now wants to create a national bone marrow registry in India. Aaker of Stanford kick-started a ‘100K cheek swab drive’ for the first time in India, beginning with the city. The drive, in association with NMIMS and Sanjivani Foundation is aimed at collecting “cheek swabs” of potential donors. Each swab costs $45.
“After a cheek swab matches with that of a patient, the donor has to undergo another test. If that is successful, the donor has to go through a simple, three-hour, blood transfer procedure. The chance of survival, if a match is found quickly is 80%,” said Aaker. Around 266 cheek swabs were collected on Wednesday and 95% of the donors were students, the rest were NMIMS faculty. “NMIMS is associated with this event as part of the initiative of its Social Enterprise Cell,” said professor Debashis Sanyal, dean, School of Business Management, NMIMS.