An Indian American father, diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia last year, is actively seeking a bone marrow donor as he cycles in and out of hospital stays.
Blood drives have been set up nationwide for Girish Chainani, a native of Mumbai, via DKMS, an international non-profit organization which aims to find bone marrow donors for people with blood cancer, and local community organizations. Chainani’s Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/pg/sosgirish/events/ – has a complete list of bone marrow drives.
South Asian Americans are grossly underrepresented in the national bone marrow donor registry, lessening Chainani’s hopes for finding the successful match that is critical to saving his life. Chainani works at Teachers’ Retirement System in New York.
Chainani and his wife Anju – who were married in New York in 1997 – have an 11-year-old daughter, Shivali. “The pregnancy was very rough again but the faith in the universe and the belief that the God is too kind to punish delivered their bundle of joy,” wrote friends on a support page: https://www.sosgirish.com/ --describing the pre-teen as a loving, precocious, selfless girl.
“Very early on, watching her father, she picked the mantra that life is about giving,” wrote friends on the support page.
Chemotherapy was Chainani’s hope for cure, but it damaged his bone marrow and weakened his stem cells. He has now been in the hospital this past month, with unrelenting fevers of unknown origin.
“His hope now is a bone marrow transplant,” said friends, noting: “An intensely private person, never seeking the limelight, it has taken serious thought to go public with his current condition. Thoughts of others also came to him. He said to his wife this might help me and several others who may not otherwise get a chance.”
Shivali has struggled alongside her father, watching him endure the struggles of treatments. “The search is for that one person who would gift him a new lease on life, who would give a giving child her Daddy back, and who would give the community their noble friend back,” wrote Chainani’s supporters.
“As Anju sits there helpless amazed at the helplessness of the doctors, Girish and the family await another miracle.”
Supporters urged those not close to a scheduled bone marrow donor drive to register with DKMS – dkms.org.en – a German company founded in 1991 by physician Peter Harf who lost his wife to leukemia. DKMS’ registry currently has about eight million donors worldwide.