Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Can You Help Save My Friend's Life?

I'm going to post Seema's post here in full totality. Pass it on.

You are reading what will forever be the most important missive I post on this blog. It is my call to you to help save my friend Vinay's life.

This is a picture of Vinay and his wife, Rashmi. They were married in 2005. Vinay is 28, has finished med school and is on his way to becoming a star physician, and imminently needs a bone marrow transplant.

There's another reason why I am urging you--from the bottom of my heart--to heed this call. Just over an hour ago, my mom called me on her way to work to tell me that the Registry (NMDP) phoned my family last night. Apparently, we just learned that, for somebody else out there who is in need, my father has been tagged as a match. I almost couldn't believe my ears but, it reminded me how important it is that *everyone* register themselves. If that doesn't compel you to give a cheek swab and maybe give someone a shot at living . . .

And all it takes from you is a cheek swab. And committing to getting just 5 other people you know (preferably people of South Asian descent) to get a cheek swab done, too. It will increase the chances of helping save Vinay's life: Vinay who is 28 and no different from you or me--except that my friend has been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) and needs a bone marrow match in the next six (6) weeks. Vinay and his beautiful wife Rashmi (no different than your partner), his brother Bharath (no different than your own sister or brother), and his dear mom and dad (surely no different than your own parents) need a match. And they need it now.

Vinay and I lived together in Unit III/Priestley Hall at UC Berkeley when we were freshmen in undergrad. Vinay lived on the 2d floor (all guys; I frequented the place often), just below me & my friends on the 3rd. We were homies. You know as well as I do that the bonds formed during your freshman year in college are the ties that stay with you for life. Even back in our adolescent days, Vinay exhibited a zeal for life comprised of calmness, coolness and camaraderie that spread to everyone with which he came into contact.

How You Can Help Vinay:

1. Register yourself in the National Marrow Donor Program. Kid you not, it takes nothing more than a cheek swab.

2. Get your family & friends to register. If you've ever corralled up a group of friends to go dancing, called up a few folks to hit the beach on a sunny afternoon, or even last-minute met up with your peeps for happy hour, you can do this.

3. Donate Money Towards Testing Vinay's Extended Relatives in India. Chances of finding Vinay a match are highest amongst his blood-relations. Vinay's family & friends have arranged for a well-respected cancer center in India to go out and test all of Vinay's family relations (and the larger community there), and ensure that results and potential matches get back to Vinay and his doctors ASAP. To help defray these costs, the family is collecting donations.

4. Help Us Organize a Drive in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C.-Metro Area. So far ten (10) California drives have been organized. I live in Baltimore, MD and am looking for folks to help organize a drive here out east. I just need a few hours of your time to round up folks, get people to give 30-second cheek swab, and, most importantly, to spread the word. If you are in Washington, D.C. and/or the Baltimore-Metro area and can help--even to just flyer at your local mosque, mandir, temple, church or community organization/meeting--please contact me at indiaseema@hotmail.com.

Click Here for a List of Upcoming Drives

5. Link Vinay's Website to your Blog. The more exposure we have, the better chance we have at saving his life. Please copy/paste the URL: http://www.helpvinay.org/dp/index.php?q=node

I hate to keep repeating myself but these are the only thoughts streaming from my being right now. Please. If you do just one good thing for the world today, do this. Register and get people to register.

Save Vinay's life.

1 comment:

Seema Patel said...

awesome, erich. thank you so much for posting this. and thank you even more for all your help with the boston (headquarters for team vinay!) efforts. your love and support have moved them all like you don't even know. :) we passed the 4600 mark this weekend and are only 15,000 short. with people like you on board, we'll get there in no time. and we will find vinay that match. rock on, bro. appreciate it so, so, so much.