BENGALURU: 30-year-old Gayathri Gunaranjan, an interior designer from Hyderabad was all in tears to meet her brother, 32-year-old Shivakumar from Chennai for the first time. No, he isn’t her biological brother, but definitely the one who now has a strong tie of blood with her. Shivakumar, a corporate employee and father of two daughters had donated his blood stem cell to Gayathri last year, to save her from acute lymphoblastic leukaemia for which a bone marrow transplant was the only cure.
Gayathri delivered her first baby boy, Avyukth, in 2014 which was the best moment in her life. Little did she know that within the next three months she would be diagnosed with leukaemia and left with no other option than getting a matching donor to prevent her son from becoming motherless at the age of barely 3 months. “I was weak and had to go through immense physical pain, but what bothered me the most was my infant son and I wanted to live only for him,” she said at a meeting organised by Datri, a Chennai based blood stem cell donors registry.
When the Gunaranjans could not find a match from any family members, they approached Datri for a potential donor and it was then when Shivakumar came in as an angel in their life.
“Shivakumar had registered with Datri during one of our donor drives for another patient in 2013. However, he did not require donating his bone marrow then. It was in 2015 when we called him up as he was found to be a perfect match for Gayathri. He did not think twice and came up to give a new lease of life to the ailing mother,” said Raghu Rajagopal, co-founder and CEO of Datri.
DATRI Blood Stem Cell Donors Registry was founded in 2009 with a vision to find a matched donor for every patient in need of a blood stem cell transplant. The registry has over 1,38,300 potential donors and has facilitated 178 donations till date.
Shivakumar, Gayathri’s new anna (brother), said: “Initially I had no clue about bone marrow donation and like many others I felt it might have an adverse impact on my health. Then Datri explained me what it is actually and today I am glad to be a part of giving back an infant, his mother. I never thought I could ever become the source of happiness for a family.”
“I am fortunate enough to get such an amazing and supportive family. While my mom looked after my baby boy throughout my treatment, my husband who is a dental surgeon had to miss his chance of sitting for higher degrees. And then came my anna in the form of my saviour and it’s all because of him that I have got back my motherhood,” said Gayathri.
The donor and recipient were kept under wraps for the past one year despite their desire to meet each other, as per the registry rules. It was on Saturday that a hotel room in Bengaluru turned out to be the venue for a family reunion amidst exchange of gratitude, love, happiness and gifts.
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