“It’d be like winning the lottery!”

Quick post with a story that gives me hope and happiness. A friend of mine organized some very successful marrow donor registration drives over the past couple of days. At one of them, she was having a conversation with another friend about how amazing and wonderful it would be to match and be able to save someone’s life simply by giving up a few hours of time and some extra blood cells. But, as a South Asian, she knows the odds of being a lucky donor are reeeally low; after all, patients face a 1 in 20k chance of matching. “It’d be like winning the lottery!” she said.

Fast forward a few hours later, after the registration drive, when she finally has a minute to check voice messages. One is from the National Marrow Donor Program organization, and it starts out thanking her for setting up the drive. And for registered herself 11 years earlier. And oh by the way, she may be a match for a 36 year old Leukemia patient (not Vinay or Sameer) so can she please schedule time in the next few days for follow-up tests. To see if she won the lottery :)

Chica, you’re amazing.

The power of passion

In the past year I’ve been blown away by first-hand interaction with what I think is one of the most powerful of human emotions: passion (many would argue that it’s merely a derivative of the strongest human emotion: love). First it was watching members of the Kiva community rise up from their computers and become evangelists for the organization and its cause (stay tuned for an depth post on that). Now, I’m in awe as I watch the South Asian community come together to save the lives of their brothers Vinay and Sameer. I’ve been fortunate to have been a part of what Vinay’s closest family and friends call Team Vinay, and watching it come together and grow and make a real impact in driving registrations and awareness has been inspiring. What’s more remarkable, over the last few weeks people who’ve never met Vinay, Sameer, or any of their friends and family have been sponsoring drives, mailing registration kits, and otherwise been not only getting registered but crusading to get their communities registered. It’s. Just. Beautiful.

What’s also been interesting to watch is how each person is playing their part in these efforts. Vinay and Sameer may have a medical condition, but it will be the efforts of a lawyer who’s running the campaign that will deserve a lot of credit when matches are found. And the efforts of a programmer who maintains the website. And the photograper who’s put Vinay’s face on banners and post cards. And the actress who helped raise awareness. And. And. And again, it’s. Just. Beautiful.

Some pictures of Sameer, followed by a picture of Vinay with his wife:

Be The Time Traveler, not an Eloi

There are few movies I watched growing up that really bothered me for some reason or another, and The Time Machine was definitely one of them. One of the standout scenes that stuck with me for a long time was the one that took place in the Future, when one of the Eloi (what we evolve into, supposedly) is floating down a fast river screaming for help and other Eloi are sitting on rocks in the river and alongside the shore just ignoring her. Just ignoring her as she floats away screaming for her life.

The Time Traveler shared my shock, and luckily was on location to pull the Eloi out of the water.

It’s so easy to get caught up in our lives these days that I think we forget sometimes how easy it is to help someone in need. Sure, we hear the screaming, but we’ve got too much going on to be bothered, or we figure someone else will help. We forget that to save a life, sometimes all we have to do is reach out and pull someone to safety. We forget that we have that power.

I have two friends with leukemia, Vinay and Sameer, who need bone marrow transplants within the next several weeks. For these transplants they need to find matches in the National Bone Marrow Donor Registry; unfortunately, as South Asians they have a 1 in 20,000 chance of finding that match (as a point of contrast, Caucasians have a 1 in 15 chance).

If you’re South Asian and you haven’t registered as a Bone Marrow Donor (sounds waay scarier than it really is), please find a drive and get registered. Be The Time Traveler, not an Eloi.