This World Cancer Day, pledge to save someone’s life by registering as a stem cell donor. Ledhi Cafe at Ernakulam is conducting an awareness event in association with Datri, a non-profit organisation on the 4th of February. “It started when my brother told me about his friend’s wife who has been suffering from Leukaemia from the age of 12,” says Satish Menon, founder of Ledhi. Rajee Nedunchezhian, 33, living in London urgently needs a stem cell donor. “Globally, India ranks very low in stem cell donors- only two lack fifty thousand donors as compared to global numbers of 30 lakhs which is very low considering our population,” says Aby Sam John donor drive co-ordinator, Datri a non-profit Stem Cell registry. “Rajee is just one such case. We could like to create awareness for the benefit of many such individuals,” explains Satish.
So, how exactly does one become a donor? “All you need to do is, take a swab test, register and fill out a form,” Aby explains. Just how blood is matched by blood group or blood type, stem cell is matched by antigens. The Stem cells are matched using HLA or human leukocyte antigen. The chance of finding matching HLA within family is as much as 25%. And the chances of finding a match outside are one in ten thousand. So it becomes very important that more and more people become donors.