A Gift of Life - My Experience Donating Bone Marrow
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A Gift of Life - My Experience Donating Bone Marrow

kristeenDuring the holiday season of 2010, I, Kristeen Singh, donated bone marrow for a seventeen year old boy with leukemia. I was blessed to be given the chance to help him and potentially stop him from dying.

It's a wonderful irony that I should be contacted to donate, as from '06 to '07 I worked at A3M (Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches, affiliated with the National Marrow Donor Program) as the South Asian Outreach and Recruitment Coordinator. In '06, I got hired and the first thing I did was register. In September of 2010 I was contacted by A3M and told I was a match. I was told that the recipient was the same age as my nephew, and I knew I would want to save my nephew, so of course I wanted the same for this boy. It feels appropriate that as a match, I am connecting everyone who has been in this fight to save patients’ lives. As a donor it feels like yes, we are doing it, and yes we are life savers.

After the initial call, I had my blood tested which confirmed that I matched. I was excited that this holiday season, I would get to share the gift of life. Information sessions were followed by a physical exam to confirm my ability to donate. I had a choice of doing the PBSC or Marrow procedure. 70 percent donate using PBSC, but I decided on the marrow procedure. To learn more about the procedures, visit: http://www.a3mHope.org.

Registering South Asians from all religions between the ages of 18-60 has brought people together to save lives. My experience at A3M will forever stay in my heart. Those I met and connected with, and the many thousands that registered to save lives, give me faith in the power of community and the realization that people do care. Many were saved and I will also remember those that didn't make it, but know that their legacy lives on. The struggle to find a match continues to help patients fight for life through matches found, thanks to those who registered. The Help Vinay and Sameer Campaign are some true examples of giving, support and compassion that I witnessed firsthand. The Dragonfly Effect, a book inspired by the campaign, states that of 24,611 that registered in a 3 month period, over 266 were matches in one year alone.

Thanks to all who were there to support while I was at A3M, and those who continue to support today. Thanks to Denise Soza, Adnan Hussain, Sharon Sugiyama, Madhuri Mistry, Rajindar Singh, Rosanna

Phung, Nicole Manalang, Supun Edirisinghe, Manuri Ranasinghe, Biba Toor, Michiko Kanenobu, Niranjan Bhatt, Seema Patel, Priti Radhakrishnan, Akhila Ananth, Anchal Chand, Sammy Chand, Roopa Rao, Sonali Fiske, Bharath Chakravarthy, Sonia Damanan, Parry Havelaar, Prakash Gopinath, Keyur Shah, Shilpa Shah, Priti Arora, Neetal Parekh, Taz Ahmed, Krupali Kaneyalal Tejura, Helen Kim, Sukh Chugh, Ted Nguyen, Nikita Shen, Anh Nguyen, Victor Lazo, Anna Huynh, Purnima Karia, Dr. Karia, Dr. Nitin Shah, Deepak Jhaveri, Enisha Narang, Marc Loresto, Prabhat Gautam, Varuna Gunasekera, Yadvinder Singh, Vijendra Rao, Darshana Vakharia, Amitha Prasad, Ananda Sen, Anita Bhat, Bicky Singh, Nauzad Sadry, Nithya Ramanathan, Dev Dugal, Peter Young, Dr. Prasad, Ravi, Meera, Ramamohan Rao, Sandeep Kumar, Sim Grewall, Vijay Vaidya, Esther Lee, Krish Chalat, Sundeep Ahuja, Ravi Kapoor, Meera Simhan and many others.

Darshana: With lot of support from my husband and my parents, I was ready to donate my marrow. One early morning, I went to the City of Hope to have the procedure. I was given general anesthesia and a small amount of marrow was extracted from my pelvic bone. I was sent home the next day and my marrow was sent to the waiting patient--a nine-year-old girl. She is a teenager now!