Amit Gupta May Get Marrow Transplant By End of Year After Social Media Campaign
Amit Gupta is a 32-year old Indian-American entrepreneur, known for being the co-founder of Photojojo, that was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. He had 30 days to find a bone marrow donor so his friends created a campaign called “Amit Gupta Needs You.” The campaign focused on South Asian donors in the registry to get swabbed. This would be so that Gupta would have a better change of receiving a transplant. Gupta’s friends launched a campaign on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.
Gupta’s friends estimate that they have been able to get hundreds, possibly thousands of people to have their cheeks swabbed to see if they were matches. Jessa Clark has been at Gupta’s side at the Yale University cancer center in New Haven, Connecticut. Clark said that the doctors want to do the transplant ASAP. If they can’t get a donor in the next week or so, Gupta would have to do another round of consolidation chemotherapy to contain the cancer.
Gupta is still getting over the last round of chemotherapy and there has been some rough effects. Doctors will choose donors from the short list of registrants identified as potential matches. Once a match is identified, the process will take around 3 weeks. This means that Gupta could receive a transplant within a year.
If it takes longer, Gupta would have to risk further corneal damage and cell damage on the inside of his mouth, which are a couple of the chemotherapy side effects that Gupta is dealing with.
“Amit is definitely going to get a transplant as a result of what we’re doing,” stated Jackie Dechongkit. “But we’re sort of in wait-and-pray mode because historically, only half of South Asians who are tested actually agree to donate.” Dechongkit is managing Gupta’s campaign. South Asians that register to be donors fail to follow through when contacted for a donation more than 50% of the time.
Clark also wanted to point out how simple and painless the bone marrow process is. Marrow is extracted from the arm and the whole process takes about 6 hours or so. Finding a donor is the hard part for South Asians. According to the National Marrow Donor Program, only 1.8% of the national registry is South Asian.
If you are interested in becoming a match for someone, make sure to find out how to join the National Marrow Donor Program like I have. Their website has information about how you can join in person without having to attend a swab party. I would recommend looking for a place within 100 miles at this link: http://marrow.org/Join/Join_in_Person/Join_in_Person.aspx#join.
Recently Aziz Ansari and Chris Pratt created a video to promote Amit Gupta Needs You.
[Wired]This article was written by Amit Chowdhry. You can follow me at @amitchowdhry or on Google+ at +AmitChowdhry