South Asians, including Indian Americans, diagnosed with blood cancers face a bigger challenge in finding a matching stem cell donor than Caucasian patients.
The Asian American Donor Program (http://www.aadp.org) is helping two Indian patients tell their story about their need to find a compatible donor, so they can undergo a stem cell transplant and have an equal opportunity to survive.
There are 30 million people registered globally, with 19 million registered with the Be the Match® registry here in the U.S. Sadly, less than three percent of the USA registry is of South Asian descent. If you don’t have a sibling or your sibling is not a match, you must depend on the Be the Match® registry for a matching donor. There is a 70 percent chance that your sibling will not be a match.
Sahil (Sihota) is a 34-year-old husband and the loving father of a 2-year-old boy. In May 2019, the Indian American was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of leukemia, a combination of Acute Leukemia Lymphocytic and Acute Myeloid Leukemia. He is currently residing in Fresno, Calif., but is originally from Scottsdale, Arizona.
Sahil loves being active – going to the gym, playing all types of sports, and spending time outdoors. Family members describe him as a kind-hearted, dedicated family man and very social.
“All I want is to see my son grow up,” says Sahil. “I just need a donor to realize this dream.”
Karam, a 25-year-old student at the University of Waterloo, recently completed her second year of the Doctor of Optometry program. She was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia in May 2019 and urgently needs a life-saving stem cell transplant. To date, no match has been found within her family or anyone in the worldwide registry.
Karam loves listening to music and reading Harry Potter ever since she first got her hands on it. Also, she likes playing and watching basketball, and would have pizza for every meal if she could (even while she’s undergoing treatment).
“I just want to get back to my life and the only way that will happen is if a matching donor is found,” Karam says.
A committed 10/10 HLA matching donor must be located for Sahil and Karam to have a successful transplant. Since they are Indian, a matching donor will be of South Asian/Indian descent.
How You Can Help: Registering to be a stem cell donor is the first step to helping any patient in need. A registration kit can be sent to you.
Text CURE140 to 61474.
Register online: https://join.bethematch.org/cure140
You must be 18 to 44 years old and meet general health requirements.
Upcoming Registration Drives:
Aug. 20 from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm, Kaiser Permanente Daly City, 395 Hickey Blvd., Daly City, CA 94015 – Second Floor, Pediatric Dept.;
Aug. 25 from 10 am to 3 pm, Sikh Gurdwara Sahib San Jose, 3636 Gurdwara Ave., San Jose, CA 95148;
Aug. 28 from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm, Amazon Lab126, 905 11th Ave., Sunnyvale, CA 94089;
Aug. 31 from 4 pm to 7 pm, 99 Ranch, Newark, outside of main entrance, 35219 Newark Blvd., Newark, CA 94560; and
Sept. 21 from 4 pm to 7 pm, 99 Ranch, Fremont, outside of main entrance, 46881 Warm Springs Blvd., Fremont, CA 94539.
For more information, call Asian American Donor Program at 1-800-593-6667 or visit http://www.aadp.org