New Delhi: Subedar Rajvir is a dedicated Army man who belongs to a village in Rajasthan. During his military training in 2019, he registered as a potential blood stem cell donor at a registration event conducted by DKMS BMST Foundation India, a nonprofit organisation dedicated to the fight against blood cancer and blood disorders. Earlier this year, he was on duty at the Indian border when he was informed that he has come up as a match for a blood cancer patient in need of an urgent stem cell transplant.
Casual leaves are uncommon for army personnel serving in delicate border situations, but his determination to save a life led him to Bangalore. Rajvir donated his blood stem cells in June 2021, and now he’s on a pursuit to inspire and motivate his colleagues, friends, and family to do the same.
India ranks 3rd highest, after the US and China in reported blood cancer cases. Many patients are children and young people whose only chance of recovery is a stem cell transplant for which they need healthy blood stem cells donated from a matching donor. Only 30% of the patients find a match in their family and rest 70% depends on finding an unrelated matching donor.
For a blood stem cell transplant to succeed, it is important that the HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen) of the donor and patient are a close match. Ethnicity plays a key role in finding the perfect match, as patients and donors of Indian origin have unique HLA characteristics that are severely under-represented in the global database that makes the probability of finding a matching donor even more difficult. This situation can only be improved by recruiting as many potential blood stem cell donors as possible from India.
Patrick Paul, CEO, DKMS-BMST says, “We are dedicated to save lives, and the current pandemic will not deter us. Subedar Rajvir is a perfect example of altruism, and we appreciate his commitment not only towards his duty of serving the country but also as a human being! Any healthy individual between the age of 18-50 can now register themselves sitting at home using the online registration link www.dkms-bmst.org/register. Thousands of patients are still waiting for a life-saving stem cell transplant and one simple step can save someone’s life and give them a second opportunity to live.”
Describing his experience Rajvir said, “Given the rarity of finding a match, I had no idea if I will come as a match for a blood cancer patient. After two years of being in the donor pool, I finally donated my blood stem cells this year; it was an outpatient process just like blood platelet donation. I consider myself fortunate to have been able to help someone in this way.”
After you register yourself online, you will receive a swab kit and a consent form. You can swab the inside of your cheeks to collect tissue cells and post the swab kit back to DKMS-BMST. DKMS laboratory will then analyze your tissue type and your pseudonymized details will be available in the global search for blood stem cell donors.
To know more: www.dkms-bmst.org