DATRI, India’s largest adult unrelated Blood Stem Cell Donors Registry, organized a very special event. Hemant Sonthalia, a 37 year old banker from Kolkata, met the 2.5 year old Lavisha Jain from Delhi, whose life he saved by donating his blood stem cells.
Lavisha was diagnosed with Thalassemia Major when she was a 5 months old baby and she needed regular blood transfusions till she could find a life-saving blood stem cell donor.
Hemant, an employee of one of the leading banks in the country registered with DATRI on 13th April 2015 during an awareness session conducted at his office. Two years after his registration, he received a call from the NGO informing him that he was a perfect match for a child with a serious blood disorder. Strongly supported by his family, Hemant was happy to donate his Blood Stem Cells to save a young life.
“Value of life is not in its duration but it is in donation. You are not important because of how long you live, but you are important because of how effectively you live.” said a beaming Hemant. His proud family was also present at the function.
With intense emotions, Sachin Jain, Lavisha’s father added, “I do not have words to express my feelings; we have waited for so long to meet the person whose selfless act has resulted in gifting us with the life of my daughter. Today we are totally overwhelmed to meet Hemant, who is now a part of our lives and will always be in our prayers. Thank you DATRI for finding this match and gifting our daughter back to us.”
As per the registry protocol, the identity of donors and recipients are kept anonymous for one year. Post one year as the recipient and the donor express their desire to meet each other and doctors declared that Lavisha was completely cured; DATRI facilitated the meeting between the two and their families.
Speaking on the occasion Dr. Joydeep Chakrabartty, Director & HOD – Haemato Oncology and BMT, AMRI Hospital said, “We have a huge number of patients suffering from fatal blood disorders like Blood cancer and Thalassemia Major among others for which, the last resort is Blood Stem Cell transplant. For patients who could not find a match within their family there was no hope, it is only with help of registries like DATRI that there is a ray of hope for such patients.”
He further added, “Till date I have referred a number of patients to DATRI for a match and we have been successful in gifting life to only few of them. It is therefore important for more people to register with DATRI to help find more matches.”
Also present during the meet were two patients who made an appeal to the public to register with DATRI and be potential donors, as anyone of them could save their life. Forty One year old Chandrima Ray Chaudhury, is suffering with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) since one year, and 3 year old Rachita Mandal was born with Thalassemia Major, both of them are waiting to find their lifesavers.
It is appalling to know that only 10,462 donors are registered with DATRI as potential blood stem cell donors from West Bengal which is the fourth most crowded state in India with a population of 91,347,736. This definitely calls for more awareness on the importance of saving lives through blood stem cell donation for blood cancer patients.
“An occasion like this is an additional motivation to work harder and make the registry grow. The joy that a recipient’s family receives and the satisfaction a donor expresses is a testimony for our efforts. As a registry, we are immensely motivated to spread the awareness on the significance of becoming a blood stem cell donor so that, many more lives can be saved,” says Ananya Ghosh, Head, East India, DATRI
The probability of finding a matched blood stem cell donor is 1 in 10,000 to one in over a million. Every match is close to a miracle. If a match is found, that donor is probably the only person who can save the patient.