University | 3:20 pm | October 26, 2011 | By Natasha Thondavadi

YNHH patient inspires bone marrow drive

Those attending a bone marrow drive Tuesday at the Law School were treated to a variety of Indian snacks.
Those attending a bone marrow drive Tuesday at the Law School were treated to a variety of Indian snacks. Photo by Natasha Thondavadi.

Four out of five Americans of European descent can find a bone marrow donor match. But for those of South Asian heritage, the chances are drastically reduced — one out of 20,000.

Amit Gupta, the online entrepreneur responsible for websites like Photojojo and The Daily Jolt, is experiencing this disparity firsthand. Gupta, whose family is from Connecticut, began receiving treatment at Yale-New Haven Hospital after being diagnosed with leukemia.

So Gupta’s friends around the nation are starting a movement to increase the presence of South Asians in the National Marrow Donor Program. For the last three weeks, Be the Match Marrow Registry drives have been held in cities and universities from the West Coast to the East, with multiple events at Stanford and in New York City, Gupta’s friend Aileen Nowlan LAW ’12 said. The registration efforts will soon move to India, with drives being planned at various temples.

Nowlan, who has helped coordinate the national movement, brought this campaign to the law school on Tuesday from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. Nowlan and Rishidev Chaudhuri GRD ’13, another of Gupta’s friends, alerted members of Yale’s South Asian community about the drive and fed donors with the light North Indian fare of bhajis and pakoras.

Those interested in donating who missed Tuesday’s event can request a free cheek swab kit at Be the Match’s website.

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