Man Donates Stem Cells, Saves Leukemia Patient and They Meet One Day

by Julia Samuel on Feb 26 2018 5:45 PM

Man Donates Stem Cells, Saves Leukemia Patient and They Meet One Day
Gurumoorthi donated his blood stem cells and saved the life of Garima Saraswat, a 34-year-old HR professional. They got to meet each other at an event.
Garima Saraswat, a 34-year-old HR professional working in Delhi was diagnosed with mixed phenotype acute leukemia. Doctors recommended blood stem cell transplant immediately to save her life.

Mixed phenotype acute leukemia

Mixed phenotype acute leukemia is two forms of leukemia combined: acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). The term “mixed phenotype” means “both types.”

Leukemia is a type of cancer that attacks blood-forming cells in the bone marrow. Leukemias that spread quickly are called acute leukemias. The fast-moving nature of mixed phenotype acute leukemia means it is especially crucial for people who are newly diagnosed to be treated quickly.

Mixed phenotype acute leukemia is rare, representing just 5% of all acute leukemia cases. It is more common in adults than children, but it can occur at any age.

Stem Cell Donor

Luckily, she found a match through ‘Datri’, India’s adult unrelated blood stem cell donors' registry. The procedure was performed, giving her a new lease on life. Garima, full of gratitude said,  “Special thanks to the donor who donated a life to me and my family. Today I am living a second life.”

Gurumoorthi, a 27-year old mechanic by profession, registered as a donor in October 2016 at the ‘Masonic Clinic Coimbatore’.

As per the registry protocol, the identity of donors and recipients are kept anonymous for one year. Both the recipient and donor expressed their desire to meet each other. So when the doctors declared that the patient was completely cured, ‘Datri’ facilitated a meeting between the two and their families. The event was to celebrate and acknowledge the ‘selfless giver’ and the ‘courageous spirit’ of the recipient who waded through all adversities.

Present on the occasion, Ms Vinita Srivastava, coordinator, National Blood Cell, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, said, “Government of India is determined to take up this cause. We are already working towards helping children with sickle cell disease, thalassemia, and aplastic anemia. Till date, we have supported 61 such cases. We plan to collaborate with existing registries in the country like Datri.”

Raghu Rajagopal, co-founder and CEO ‘Datri’, stressed the need to expand the registry and said that “there are over 1,800 patients on Datri’s waiting list, anticipating a match.”