Saturday, 20 April 2013

Swab your cheek - help save Nalini

Several friends are organising a swab drive on Saturday, from 11am to 2pm, at the Pinstorm office in Santa Cruz, Bombay. The address: Swati Building, North Avenue, Santa Cruz (W) Bombay 400 054 Phone: +91 22 6739 3888. 

North Avenue is the road that runs between SV (Swami Vivekananda) Road and  Linking Road. The restaurants Dynasty and Yoko's are almost bang opposite the SV Road end, and there's a Kotak Bank branch at the Linking road corner, with Tressorie just ahead. Swati is very close to the Linking road end, on your right as you go towards SV Road.

This message from Dilip D'Souza will explain the background, and what you can expect.
My good friend Nalini Ambady, prof at Stanford U, needs your help. See the web site and Facebook page of same name -- it will tell you about her, her situation and what 's been done so far. Short version: she needs a bone marrow transfer (BMT) and she has failed in efforts to find a donor in the US. So we're now trying here in India. Both to find a match and to get people to sign up with Indian bone marrow databases so that the chance of a match increases.
There is an age restriction: they want donors to be between 18 and 50.
There are two databases of donors I know about in India: DATRI ( and MDRI ( Somewhere on the DATRI site you can sign up to have a kit sent to you, you use the enclosed swabs to do a cheek swab and send the result back to them with a Rs 2500 fee. I happen to have three of those kits with me, so if you want to do that let me know (and the costs will be taken care of).
Alternatively, you can sign up for free with the MDRI database (unless you want to donate only to a specified person, like Nalini, in which case they charge you Rs 10,000). You can do so by walking into one of several hospitals in Bom, e.g. Raheja at Mahim, Holy Family in Bandra, Nanavati in Vile Parle, etc (see this page Apparently the procedure of forms and taking a blood sample will take 15 minutes or so. MDRI is run by the Tata Memorial Hospital, so your data will be sent to them by whichever hospital you sign up at.
I believe Kokilaben in Andheri also signs you up this way, it's just that I'm not sure which database you are entered in. Worth calling to ask, especially if you're nearby and that is convenient for you.
I hope you'll consider signing up. Time is of the essence for Nalini. The BMT is really the only option she has left and we have to find her a matching donor in the next 2-3 months, possibly a little more.
If you sign up, thanks! Please give a thought to whether you know others in the 18-50 age range who can sign up too.

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