I’ve never met Photojojo and Jelly co-founder Amit Gupta, but for the past two days or so my Twitter stream has been swamped with commentaryon his story. Diagnosed with acute Leukemia two weeks ago, Gupta has had trouble finding a bone marrow match, primarily because of the lack of donors from the South Asian (Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Nepalese, Bhutani, Maldivian and Sri Lankan) community.
The national bone marrow registry contains 9.5 million records, yet the possibility of someone from South Asian descent like Amit will find a match is only 1 in 20,000. So Amit did whatever any startup founder or techie would do when faced with such impossible odds, he drew upon our community. Low and behold, two weeks later, his colleague Seth Godin and his friend Michael Galpert have offered a combined $20K and respective blog coverage for the person who turns out to be a match for Amit.
Prospective candidates can find out more information about how send in their cotton swab tests to qualify here. And in case the “needle in the back” pain factor of a bone marrow transplant is turning you off, the procedure can also be done in a relatively less intrusive way via a blood-transfusion-like machine, and is totally painless.
While the #IswabbedforAmit submission roster will be applied to the entire roster of marrow.org recipients, people who are lured in by #IswabbedforAmit have the opportunity to register on behalf of Amit. San Francisco organizer and Foodzie founder Emily Olson tells me, “The number one thing we need to do is keep him [Amit] super positive, and then keep registry filled with people. I’m trying to gather as many resources as we can.”
Olson says that what’s impressed her the most about #IswabbedforAmit is the realization that the entrepreneurial community isn’t limited to Silicon Valley, but extends to all over the world (right now bone marrow drives for Amit are in the works in Delhi and Mumbai). “Everyone is like ‘This can’t happen to Amit, because he’s put so much good into the world that shouldn’t get taken away … We’re a community of doers, and it’s amazing how fast things have happened.”
Let’s try to save the ones we can guys.