A call to action. A cry for help. An opportunity for you to realize your power to give strength to someone affected by a blood cancer (Leukemia, Lymphoma, and Myeloma). Get involved. Make someone stronger.
After unusual bouts of feeling fatigued and tired 33-year-old Raman Sadwal scheduled what he thought would be a simple doctor’s visit but instead the diagnosis he received that day in late January changed his life.
The Princeton resident and married father of two young boys was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. a disease he’ll be treating with chemotherapy beginning this Monday and a fight he is going to continue until his many friends and family members can help him find a bone marrow or stem cell donor.
“Help us,” pleaded his wife, Ritu Sadwal, earlier today at Newport Mall in Jersey City where from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. she and a group of 15 volunteers have teamed up with the South Asian Marrow Association of Recruiters to hold a “Save Raman” donor driver not only to find a match for her husband but to also help others.
An estimated 750,000 Americans are living with life threatening blood diseases like leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma, according to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Many of those patients are in need of a donor who can match their tissue type but their odds of finding a successful match are 1 in 100,000.
“It’s a numbers game,” said Chinmay Jain, a friend of Sadwat’s and volunteer who led today’s donor registration drive. Jain says that for Sadwat the odds of finding a match are harder as many donors registered with the National Marrow Donor Program are Caucasian.
For Jain a match is most likely to be Indian like himself, says Sadwat, noting that a shared ethnicity between donor and patient often leads to a successful match.
“But unfortunately his near family did not match with him,” he said, adding that a search among registered donors also came up empty.
However, Jain and Ritu Sadwal are not losing hope. Instead, they have organized dozens of donor registration drivers across the country and in India, Jain says.
“I don’t know how I would manage if it wasn’t for these people here,” said Ritu as she stood among the bustling volunteers who busied themselves helping donors with the registration process.
Among the newly registered donors was Harish Raman, 40, who with his wife Sena Sebastian, 38, were on their way to do some shopping but decided to help after they came across a flyer posted by a mall entrance.
“If we can be helpful to someone living, I can do this,” said Raman, adding,”It’s a noble cause.”