Reports from ‘CNN’ and ‘Manhattan Local News’, as well as many other news sources are sharing the story of thirty two year old technology entrepreneur and founder of ‘Photojojo’ and ‘Jelly’, Amit Gupta. Amit received some very bad news during the end of September. His doctor called and informed him that he had acute leukemia and would need serious treatment immediately. Although Amit is already receiving chemotherapy, it will not be enough. In order to live, he will need a bone marrow transplant. Using social networking sites, and blogs, Amit is searching desperately for a bone marrow transplant that is of South Asian descent.
Donor Transplant Match Needed
It is rare to find someone of this ethnicity, because the national donor registry does not cover it as well as other races. Patients in need of a bone marrow transplant are much more likely to match with people from their own race because the markers which determine a match are inherited. South Asian is one of the races which are encouraged to donate to the national registry because of the low number of donors which they currently have.
Amit has a brother who is currently waiting to find out whether or not he is a possible match. While they wait, friends of Amit from New York, and former roommates of the young entrepreneur have united to help look for more potential donors. The more he has, the greater his chances are that one will be a successful match. One of his friends from Brooklyn explains that they are not looking at this as a tragedy. Tony Bacigalupo says that they did not take the news with an attitude of grief. Instead they immediately decided to do something about it, to save him. Amit went straight to his Tumblr page and began to blog about his need.
Amit admits that he was terrified when he got the news from his doctor, as anyone would be. He packed a backpack with clothing, and immediately went to the hospital per his physician’s instructions. That first night, Amit was given transfusions all night long. To pass the time, he searched for information about his illness online, and discovered that if he had not found out when he did, he would have been dead within a few weeks.
Amit is by far not the only person of South Asian descent who is looking for a bone marrow donor to save their lives. Many may be afraid to take the test to find out, because they simply do not know how simple it is. A free bone marrow test can be received in the mail, and all that you would have to do is swab your cheek, and send the swab back to the National Marrow Donor Program. There are literally thousands hoping for a match at this moment.
When Amit received the news from his doctor, he was living in San Francisco, California. He is now back in Connecticut, where his family is from, being treated at a hospital there. With friends from both New York and California, as well as loved one in Connecticut, and many friends who are gamers, bloggers, and regular users of social networking sites, Amit’s story is being spread as far as possible, hoping for a match.
Mobilizing Social Media
Bloggers who have a great deal of influence have blogged Amit’s story, other friends have launched a campaign on Twitter, and Facebook users are also helping with the search. Drives to push for bone marrow donors have began to spring up all over the country. Seth Godin, who was once Amit’s boss, has offered a ten thousand dollar prize for the first person who is found to be a match. Although it is not legal to pay for a bone marrow donation, this prize does not require that the donor actually undergoes the treatment to save Amit’s life, although they do hope that they will. After the award was announced, two more friends added their own money to the pot, and the prize for the first match will now be thirty thousand dollars.
Twitter campaigners are using the hashtag #IswabbedForAmit to pass the story on. In New York, a “Spirits and Swabs” event will be held on Friday, Oct 14, 2011 to help search for a match. Test kits, photo booth, alcohol, and the chance to become the first match will all be at the party.
After the death of Steve Jobs, one of the most well-known technology entrepreneurs in history, techies are not willing to lose another to cancer. All of the marketing tools which they would normally use for financial gain are now being utilized to save the life of one of their own. Amit will be ready for the transplant in two or three months, so time is critical.
Amit himself pleads the case better than anyone can. He pleads with anyone who will hear him to get the word out in any way that they can. His life quite literally depends on it. For anyone who think that they could be a match, more information is available thru Amit’s blog here http://tumblr.amitgupta.com/day/2011/10/06
Angela Kaye Mason is a researcher, writer, business woman, and contributor at entrepreneurweek.com blog network. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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