India’s first unrelated Bone Marrow Donor meets his recipient for the first time

Bangalore, 18 May 2017, DATRI, India's largest adult unrelated Blood Stem Cell Donors Registry, today presented India’s first unrelated bone marrow donor, Naval Chaudary in a very unique yet emotional event.

Celebrating the real life hero, Naval, a 28 year old professional met Fateh Singh, 6 year old recipient for the first time today in Bengaluru. The little boy who came along with his family from home town, Amritsar, was super excited to meet his donor – his superhero. Also present on the occasion was Dr Sunil Bhat, the renowned Paediatric Haemato-Oncologist from Mazumdar Shaw Cancer Centre, who carried out this transplant in May 2016. 

Fateh was diagnosed with Thalassemia Major at the age of one and half years.  During the first blood transfusion, it was discovered that his body was unable to produce antibodies as well. As a result, blood transfusion was not possible for him and he required an urgent blood stem cell transplant. 

While on the other side of the country, Naval a young professional from Bengaluru registered with DATRI in 2015 in a camp held at his work place. Within a year of registering he received a call from DATRI informing him that he was a perfect match for a 6 year old suffering an acute form of Thalassemia and required a blood stem cell transplant urgently. 

“I was very happy to hear that I was a potential match for a patient. But then I was told that the donation process had to be through a bone marrow harvest. I was a bit hesitant initially, but then I researched about the procedure and was also counselled by Dr Bhat. I realised that saving a life is more important than the type of procedure and the fact that a little effort from my part could save a child felt like I was the chosen one. I had no more doubts and was happy to go ahead” says a beaming Naval. 

As per the registry protocol, the identity of donors and recipients is kept anonymous for one year. Post completion of one year, with consent of both recipient and donor, DATRI facilitates the meeting between the two along with their loved ones.

Speaking on the occasion Dr Sunil Bhat said, “We have a number of patients suffering from fatal blood disorders like Blood cancer and Thalassemia among others for which the last resort is blood stem cell transplant. For many years, there was no hope for such patients. It is only with registries like DATRI, we have a ray of hope for such patients.”

He furtheradded, “For non-malignant conditions such as Thalassemia, a patient willrespond well to transplant when the donated cells are directly harvested fromthe donor’s marrow. Donation of blood stem cells through a peripheralcollection or from the marrow are both established procedures, followed acrossthe world.” 

Karnatakahas over 61 million population, however, it is appalling that only around27,000 potential blood stem cell donors are registered with DATRI till date.This definitely calls for higher awareness across the state, on the importanceof saving lives through blood stem cell donation. 

Commentingon the proud moment, Raghu Rajagopal, Co-Founder & CEO of DATRI, said, “Wehave facilitated 255 donations, of which 250 are PBSC donations. I am extremelyproud about this young man Naval, who is now India’s first unrelated bonemarrow donor through our registry. His selfless act has gifted a life and achild back to a family. This is a very significant moment in the Indian historyof blood stem cell transplants. DATRI has facilitated 4 more bone marrowharvests till date.”

He furtheradded, “The joy that a recipient’s family receives and the satisfaction a donorexpresses is in itself a testimony of hope. As a registry, we are immenselyinspired to spread the awareness on the significance of becoming a blood stemcell donor to save lives.”

The eventwas to celebrate and acknowledge a selfless act, to come forward and donateblood stem cells to a complete stranger is in itself a priceless form ofgiving. This is a special occasion to celebrate the ‘selfless giver’ and the‘courageous spirit’ of the recipient who waded through all adversities. For apatient suffering from fatal blood disorders like blood cancer, a blood stemcell transplant is the only hope of life.  The probability of finding amatched blood stem cell donor is 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 2 Million. Every match isclose to a miracle. If a match is found, that donor is probably the only personwho can save the patient. 

AboutDATRI

DATRI isIndia’s largest adult unrelated blood stem cell donors registry.  Foundedin 2009 by Raghu Rajagopal, Dr. Nezih Cereb and Dr. Soo Young Yang, DATRI’svision is to help every patient seeking a blood stem cell donor find a healthy,willing, genetically matched donor. DATRI has more than 2, 11,000 registeredvoluntary donors, has facilitated 255 stem cell donations including 29donations for international patients. DATRI works with 16 collection centersand has serviced 39 Transplant Centers across the world.This not-for-profit organization is registered with Bone Marrow DonorsWorldwide and is a member of World Marrow DonorsAssociation (WMDA).  For more details please visit, www.datri.org.


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