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November 25, 2011 > Amit Gupta needs you

Amit Gupta needs you

By Catherine Kirch

When 32-year-old Amit Gupta was diagnosed with acute leukemia, he and his friends launched a social media campaign to find a bone marrow donor.

"I was terrified," Gupta wrote on his blog. "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. South Asians are severely under-represented in the bone marrow pool, and I need help."

Unlike blood transfusions, finding a bone marrow match is much more complex, and relies on multiple genetic factors. For most, the probability of obtaining a match is about four in five. Unfortunately, due to the limits of the South Asian donor pool, Gupta's odds of finding a match are only about 1 in 20,000.

Not only are Amit's chances limited, so is his time. If Gupta does not find a match by November 30th, he will have to endure additional rounds of chemotherapy, and his likelihood of survival will be significantly reduced.

With donor odds so slim, Gupta and his tech-savvy friends have turned to social media to get the word out. The campaign, spanning Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and the blogosphere, has generated an immense response. Celebrities, including Anderson Cooper, Alyssa Milano and David Copperfield, as well as companies, including Google, Amazon, Microsoft and AT&T, have voiced their support of Gupta's cause. Hopefully, the campaign will attract the attention of enough people, especially those of South Asian descent, so that Gupta will find a donor in time.

The ultimate aim of the campaign, however, is not to just to find a bone marrow match for Amit, but to increase the odds for all South Asians seeking donors. You can help by joining a marrow registry, ordering a test kit by mail, organizing or attending a bone marrow drive, or donating to the National Marrow Donor Program.

Visit amitguptaneedsyou.com to find out more about Gupta's story and how you can help.

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