Shabas T S, a 23-year-old electrical engineer from Kochi, did not know that a stem cell donor registration camp he attended two years ago just to bunk class would become a turning point in his life. A year after registering with DATRI, India's largest adult unrelated blood stem cell donor's registry, Shabas was informed by the organization that his stem cells are perfect match to 9-year-old Manasvi Karamchedu from Hyderabad who was diagnosed with Thalassemia Major when she was five months old.

On Thursday, when Shabas met a fully-recovered Manasvi at Cochin Palace Hotel here at a meet arranged by DATRI, he was an elated lot. "I have no words to express my feeling. I feel so proud that a simple gesture from my part saved a life," said Shabas.

Manasvi's father Kiran could not control his tears when he hugged the youth who gave his daughter a new lease of life. "My wife and I were shattered when Manasvi was diagnosed with Thalassemia Major. She needed blood transfusions every week and the permanent solution was a blood stem cell transplant," he said.

"We came to know about DATRI when we lost all the hopes. Last year, we got the transplant done at Apollo Hospital, Chennai. Shabas and DATRI have gifted Manasvi a new life. Now, she has two birthdays and two birthplaces," said Kiran. "Ever since the transplant last year, we were looking forward to meeting Shabas. I am happy that DATRI has arranged it now," he added.

Blood stem cell transplant is the solution to those diagnosed with blood cancer and other blood-related disorders. But many are reluctant to come forward to donate blood stem cells. Donation can be done through two methods — peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) donation and bone marrow donation.



Shabas, who went for PBSC, said, "My family was very supportive and I was able to get back to my daily activities immediately after the procedure".

 


"We have a huge number of patients suffering from fatal blood disorders, for which blood stem cell transplant is the last resort," said Dr Neeraj Sidharthan, department of medical oncology and haematology, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences.

 


"Chance of getting a match among siblings is only 25% and hence it is important to spread awareness to allay fears and overcome misconceptions related to blood stem cell donation," he said.

The probability of finding a matched unrelated blood stem cell donor is 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 2 million. NGOs like DATRI play a vital role in helping patients get a donor.

 


"We are not just a registry who keeps record of potential donors and recipients. We facilitate transplants and follow up with donors and recipients after the transplant. We are immensely motivated to spread awareness on the significance of becoming a blood stem cell donor so that many more lives can be saved," said Raghu Rajagopal, co-founder and CEO of DATRI.

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