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June 19, 2007 > Kennedy High Alumnus fighting for life...dearth of South Asians in Registry

Kennedy High Alumnus fighting for life...dearth of South Asians in Registry

By Praveena Raman

"Eight months ago, I was just like the rest of you......worrying about work, love, and the everyday grind. Now, I've got toxic material running through my veins so I can spend my time with the people I love. In a strange way, I feel lucky. Every person who does the smallest thing to help seems like such a special event."

Twenty eight year old Vinay Chakravarty grew up in Fremont in the Ardenwood area where his parents Hema and Parthasarthy still reside. Vinay attended Ardenwood Elementary school, Walters Junior High and Kennedy High School. After graduating from Kennedy he proceeded to U.C. Berkeley for his undergraduate studies and later moved to Boston and completed his Masters and Medical degrees at Boston University.

In 2005 he married Rashmi, also a medical student at Boston University and continued with his residency in orthopedics at Boston Medical Center. Everything seemed rosy and great for Vinay until November 2006 when he came down with flu-like symptoms and a severe backache. He was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) and soon after, underwent a chemotherapy regimen and got his Leukemia under control. He was in remission for a few months but fate had more in store for him. In May 2007 Vinay and his family found that his leukemia was back and he was not responding as well to chemotherapy. The doctors told him and his family that he would need a bone marrow transplant within six weeks to save his life.

No match could be found within his immediate family and he and his family are now hoping to find a matching donor through the Registry. Bone Marrow Registries are databanks of information about donors and their tissue types and patients. They connect patients with matching donors anonymously and retain patient confidentiality.

The National Marrow Donor Program is one of the largest databank of donors from all over the world. However even though it is the largest databank the number of ethnic donors is very low. This includes the South Asian population. Hence the odds for Caucasians to find a match is high - 1in 15 - whereas the odds of a South Asian finding a match is 1 in 20,000.

Please register, help Vinay and other South Asians and save a life by increasing the odds for finding a match. Every registrant helps increase the odds for finding a match.

"I'm ecstatic about the amount of registrants we've obtained in the last two weeks.....but PLEASE don't stop. I haven't found my match and there are so many out there who haven't either......Thank You. Thank you for being who you are and doing what you do. I'll continue fighting my fight if you can fight with me."- With lots of love, Vinay

A plea from Vinay's wife:
"We need more people to join our fight - we are racing against time to save Vinay's life every effort in the next 14 days makes a difference." - Rashmi Chakravarthy


To find more information on AcuteMyelogenous Leukemia or on how to be a donor visit the following sites:

* Mayo Clinic - http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/acute-myelogenous-leukemia
* UCSF - http://www.ucsf.edu/synapse/content/22306/bone.html
* American Cancer Society - http://www.cancer.org
* National Cancer Society - http://www.cancer.gov/
* Leukemia & Lymphoma Society - http://www.leukemia-lymphoma.org/
* National Marrow Donor Program - http://www.marrow.org/
* www.helpvinay.org

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