Harish Kapoor - Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Donor

In January 2001, I went to the Indian republic day celebration with my family. Dr. Parameshwaran along with his group was registering people for the Bone Marrow registry. He informed us the details of testing and how marrow donation can help in saving blood cancer patient's life. Since my wife was pregnant I thought if I matched a patient, I would be asked to donate. I wondered how we would manage. With all these thoughts I walked towards the stage where my son was going to sing Gayatri Mantra(prayer) with his class mates. I heard him singing with his class mates. How enthusiastically these small children were teaching us to help each other through this prayer. That very moment we decided to register. For a few days it was in our minds that we registered but as time passed we forgot all about it. After 5 years, in the end of 2006 I received call from The Gulf Coast Marrow Donor Program informing me that I might be a match for a 26 year-old male that had leukemia. They called needing my consent for further testing. On one side we were very excited that I could be the cure of someone's cancer and on the other side we were also concerned about such things like how this donation would affect my life. Is it going to be painful? What will be side effects? For how long will I need to stay off from my work? So we decided to do the research. We talked to the physicians and relatives both here in the USA and in India as well. Some of the family members were very concerned and did not support the idea of donating, while others were very supportive and encouraging. We even talked to wonderful donors like, Ms. Carrie Sevier, Mr. Patel and Ms. Poonam Desai. With all the research we learned that the donation process may be a little uncomfortable ,but it may bring a smile to someone’s life, and renewed happiness and life to the family. So, I gave my consent for further testing. March 2007 I was called for the blood test ,and in April I was informed that I was the perfect match for the patient. After the medical evaluation I was scheduled for the PBSC donation on Monday, May 14th. Before donation I was given daily shots of a drug called Filgrastim (Neupogen). This medication caused body to produce more stem cells than normal, releasing them into the blood. After the 3rd shot I had some body ache ,but was still able to do my usual activities, like Friday dinners and Sunday temple visit. After the donation, I felt tired for a couple of days, but was back to work and doing everything I used to do: like mowing my lawn, landscaping and planning home projects. Today, my friends and family, even those that were reluctant to support my decision in the beginning, are very happy and proud that I was able to give someone else a new beginning. If I ever have such chance again, I will definitely go for it again.

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