South Asians with blood disorders only have a 1 in 20,000 chance of finding compatible marrow donors, in part due to the fact that less than 1% of those registered in the National Marrow Donor Program are of Indian, Pakistani, Bangladesh, or Sri Lankan descent. I was alerted to this fact by Help Vinay, a site created to help raise awareness and to find a donor for Vinay Chakravarthy, a 28-year-old Indian American doctor who has Acute Myeloid Leukemia.
I’ll be registering as a donor at the registration drive at the South Asian Journalist’s Assocation conference where I’m speaking on Friday. If you’ll be there, you can register as well (it’s just a simple cheek swab). Because I have a significant number of Indian and South Asian readers, especially in the Bay Area, I’d urge you all to check out the list of upcoming donor drives and participate yourself. And to find out more, check out AsianMarrow.org, which offers a lot more information about the complexity of finding matches for Asians who need marrow transplants.