Signal boost: call for bone marrow registrationPosted: October 7, 2011
I’ve been preoccupied with a lot of stuff recently and haven’t been posting much, but my brain has definitely been thinking about the blog while I navigate the rest of life. This morning, something broke into my awareness and I wanted to post it here.
You see, I just learned that a person who I knew in college, Amit Gupta, was diagnosed with acute leukemia. He’s more than just internet famous, as you’ll see if you look him up, and he was already becoming pretty well known when I met him. At that time, I found him to be tremendously sweet and funny and just a really solidly decent human being. Looks like none of that has changed in the time since we drifted apart.
And now he needs help, and we can help him! Leukemia can be treated with bone marrow transplants, which is great. To break down the biology a little bit: the patient receiving the transplant needs to get a donation from someone whose chemical identifications are super similar to his/her own, or the body will see the transplant not as help, but as danger. One way to avoid this is to get donations from relatives, or from people in similar genetic groups. (While race is much much more of a cultural thing than a biological thing, the probability of getting the right chemical IDs in the same place at the same time is easier in humans from similar regions.) So Amit’s friends are organizing a bone marrow registry drive, focusing on South Asians. If you’re in the area, they’re hosting a party in New York City on October 14, 2011, where you can register for the database. If not, and you’re in the target pool and reading this, would you consider signing up?
I’ve sent some cash their way, because I’m not in the donor pool and it takes money to do the labwork that lets the doctors find matches. As a scientist, as a sibling, and as an acquaintance, it’s the least I can do.
You can read about Amit and how you can help here.