Two weeks ago I got a call from my doctor, who I’d gone to see the day before because I’d been feeling worn out and was losing weight, and wasn’t sure why.
He was brief: “Amit, you’ve got Acute Leukemia. You need to enter treatment right away.”
I was terrified. I packed a backpack full of clothes, went to the hospital as he’d instructed, and had transfusions through the night to allow me to take a flight home at 7am the next day. I Googled acute leukemia as I lay in my hospital bed, learning that if it hadn’t been caught, I’d have died within weeks.
I have a couple more months of chemo to go, then the next step is a bone marrow transplant. As Jay and Tony describe below, minorities are severely underrepresented in the bone marrow pool, and I need help.
A few ways to help:
- If you’re South Asian, get a free test by mail. You rub your cheeks with a cotton swab and mail it back. It’s easy.
- If you’re in NYC, you can go to this event my friends are putting on.
- If you know any South Asians (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, or Sri Lanka), please point ‘em to the links above.
*UPDATE 1* Organize a donor drive near you (the most helpful thing you could possibly do!) email firstname.lastname@example.org. They’ll send you kits, flyers, tell you what to say, and make the whole process easy cheesy.
*UPDATE 2* Want to get a free test, but not in the US. Here’s a list of international donor registries that are globally searchable.
Much thanks to Tony and pals for organizing this event, and EVERYONE who’s been tweeting and reblogging.
Please help get the word out any way you can. My life quite literally depends on it.