Last week Photojojo founder and friend to much of New York City, Amit Gupta, announced that he has Acute Leukemia, and needed "to enter treatment right away" (symptoms have usually been present for only days to weeks before diagnosis):
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.
The discovery also brought up another problem, spanning beyond Gupta: minorities are severely underrepresented in the bone marrow pool. Gupta has the best chance of finding a match in someone of South Asian descent, and the chances of finding a genetic match for bone marrow from someone of South Asian descent is 1 in 20,000. Seth Godin is offering $10,000 to the person who does match Gupta, also noting that "everyone (regardless of ethnicity)" should register... he's not the only one making this offer, either. And everyone who is able to should consider becoming a donor (this is far from the first time a bone marrow donation has been needed). So let's go over how you can do that.
It begins with swabbing your cheek with a Q-tip, and this may be all you ever end up doing. If you are a match with someone and decide to donate (as this can often be time sensitive, you should be certain you are willing to donate before registering), you will then need to go through an outpatient procedure, which Dr. Jay Parkinson describes as "not a fun procedure, but it’s not dangerous either"... and at the end of it, maybe you'll have saved a life.
South Asian or not, you can help out Gupta or someone else by registering now (it's easy!), and friends of Gupta are holding a party on October 14th, where kits (and cocktails!) will be supplied to potential donors.