New Delhi: About two weeks ago Amit Gupta, an entrepreneur of Indian origin based in San Francisco, was diagnosed with acute leukaemia and websites and Internet users around the world are joining hands to help Amit battle cancer. Amit founded, amongst other things, Photojojo, a twice-a-week photography tips newsletter service.
As a part of his treatment Amit needs a bone marrow transplant. But the fact that South Asians are poorly represented in the US bone marrow donor pool, is making it difficult for him to find to find a donor match.
The chances of Amit finding a match in the US national bone marrow registry is 1 in 20,000 to 100,000.
Author and entrepreneur Seth Godin has offered a $10,000 for the first certified match. Michael Galpert, co-founder of Aviary has also matched Godin's offer.
"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 Leukaemia. 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 leukaemia as I lay in my hospital bed, learning that if it hadn't been caught, I'd have died within weeks," Amit posted on his Tumblr blog.
Popular websites such as Flickr, TechCrunch, Boing Boing and others are helping spread the word and Twitter hashtags #IswabbedforAmit and #4amit also helping get donors for Amit, who tweets as @superamit. People have also extended their support for Amit through posts on his Facebook profile.
"I need help," says Amit and here's how you can help him:
People of Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Nepalese, Bhutanese, Maldivian or Sri Lankan origin can sign up for the bone marrow registry and give Amit a better chance of finding a match. Amit's friends are also organising a party on October 14 in New York and are encouraging participants of subcontinental geographic ancestry to join them to find a donor for Amit.
A non-profit donor recruitment group, South Asian Marrow Association of Recruiters, will cover the $100 per person cost of lab tests and database maintenance.