Wednesday, November 12, 2008

sad news, happy begginings

Last night our dear friend, and fellow warrior Emru Townsend passed on. We are all sad for the loss, and we reach out to his sister Tamu (another warrior) and his whole family. If there were more like them, we would have this thing beat by now.

This newest update is the most distasteful; it leads us to think that all we do may be for naught.
We are in a similar boat, now that Khokada has found a match, the rest is really up to him. We are there to support him, but it is ultimately his struggle and his victory.

But even after he succeeds, there are many others out there, and there will be many more. All our work has not been in vain, because one day somewhere, someone will benefit from it. They will win, and we will take our reward as such. So it is not too late for you to join this fight, there is only one side, ours. And we will welcome your help as we redouble our efforts.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

OneMatch: Stem cell and marrow awareness week

Hello again all,

November 3-9, 2008 is National Stem Cell and Marrow Awareness Week (click on the title of this post to download the Media Kit released by OneMatch). Keep an eye out for the blitz!

Happy Diwali to all of you, and thanks for your continuing support.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Thank you! Let's keep it going...

Thanks to everybody (volunteers and potential donors alike) who came together during the puja season to increase stem cell donation awareness and registration. Special thanks to Anand Patel, event coordinator for Navratri Raas-Garba at the International Centre and organizer at the Hindu Mandir (Mississauga), for his generosity and hard work on behalf of our cause; we were able to recruit 200 new registrants to OneMatch at this fantastic event. Thanks also to Mr. Prasad Banerjee at Toronto Kalibari, and the many organizers at the Prabasi Bengali Cultural Association (PBCA) for their generous cooperation with our recruitment efforts.

We were pleased to welcome The Honourable Bob Rae and his wife, Arlene Perly Rae, to our booth at the Raas-Garba (left). Mr. Rae, former NDP premiere of Ontario and current incumbent Liberal MP for the federal riding of Toronto Centre, was a bone marrow donor in 1989 for his younger brother, David, who sadly passed away from leukemia. Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Rae, for recognizing the value of our efforts, and best of luck in the election tomorrow.

In a second photo (right), showing Mr. Rae enjoying some quality time with Mr. Rick Mercer at a lake in Ontario cottage country, note that the puncture sites from his marrow donation procedure have long-since healed over...

In the coming weeks, we hope to strengthen the many contacts we've made during the last several events and online, and work together to continue promoting awareness within the South Asian community. If you haven't already done so (shame, shame), register at our booth during Diwali at the following events:

Sunday, October 19, 11 am - 6 pm
AWIC Diwali Mela 2008
Grand Baccus Banquet and Conference Center
2155 McNicoll Avenue
Tel: 416-299-0077
[Click on map for location]

Tuesday, October 28, 7:30 - 11:00 pm
Vishnu Mandir, Diwali Puja
8640 Yonge Street
Richmond Hill, ON
Tel: 905-886-1724
[Click on map for location]

-Prateek Lala

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

It's Puja time - let's celebrate by registering at these events!

This is going to be a pretty busy week for us with Durga Puja, Navaratri and a Garba to cover.

To celebrate ASAD will be at the following locales! We're not swabbing, just helping people register online. Please spread the word!

Tuesday, October 7: Toronto Kalibari
6815 Professional Court
Mississauga, ON L4V 1X6
Tel: 905-405-0780

Friday, Oct 10: Durga Puja, PBCA
Tagore Centre
140 Millwick Drive
Toronto, ON M9L 1Y6

Saturday, Oct 11: Navratri Raas Garba
International Centre, Hall #5
6900 Airport Rd.Mississauga, ON L4V 1E8

Sunday, Oct 12: Durga Puja, PBCA
Tagore Centre
140 Millwick Drive
Toronto, ON M9L 1Y6

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Reaching Out

As the weeks go by, what we realize is that the Appeal for South Asian Donors is all about outreach. The more we reach out to all sorts of communities, the more interconnected we become.

We've met Ishtiaque who is campaigning to help his father, Haider Choudhury, a hard-working electrical engineer who came to Canada with his family only 8 years ago and has become incapacitated with a bone marrow disorder called myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS).

Then there is Patrick Tam who lives in Hong Kong, but also works on the campaign. Carolyn is his sister and is just down the hall from Dr. Guha at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto. He tells us the need for Chinese donors is immense.

We've also met Tamu Townsend, well, we met her on Facebook, another dynamic advocate for bringing more minorities onto the OneMatch Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Network. Actually, she is not dynamic, she is a dynamo! Tamu just announced that her brother Emru's transplant, which took place two weeks ago, was successful. Congratulations to the whole Townsend clan and all their supporters!

And of course, Soumo and Prateek got involved to help our friend, mentor, and colleague, Dr. Abhijit Guha, who was recently diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). Dr. Guha is an accomplished neurosurgeon and research scientist, dedicated father and husband, and untiring philanthropist in the South Asian community both here in Toronto and internationally. He has helped build a non-profit hospital in Calcutta/Kolkata, where he frequently visits to donate his time and skills.

We've also been talking to SAMAR, the South Asian Marrow Association of Recruiters in the US and we've learned a lot from Tim Datta, whose did an amazing job increasing registrants with the MatchPia campagin.

All of us are working to make a difference. Please help us spread the word.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Since last Sunday, we estimate close to 150-200 swabbers registered as a result of the event. Asides from those who came out in force, there were many who could not make it but have since come on board.

If you haven't already, now's the time, not next week.

We are now entering a critical period where we have redoubled our efforts and have reached out to the community at large. If you have a large social network, appeal to them. If you belong to a religious institution, put the appeal in a sermon (we even have a canned speech for that purpose)! In short, do whatever you can now, because later we will not need your help quite so urgently. After we find our 'one' match, we will be continuing our efforts, but really it is time to do your part, NOW!

We will be registering en masse at Toronto KaliBari this coming Saturday the 4th and Sunday the 5th, as well as the following Tuesday the 6th, then move back to The Tagore Centre the following weekend Friday-Sunday.

We also request that you do not sit on the kits at home; as soon as you get them, swab. You needn't sit down, brush your teeth, have water, chew gum...just swallow once and swab away. Put it back in the envelope after labeling it, then mail it back THAT hour. It's free!

We are also happy to announce that many others are getting involved with our cause. Our man Russell Peters had a chat with Prateek and agreed that this is something we all need to get moving on... now!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

We hope to see you Sunday at the Swab-a-thon!

It's finally here - the Swab-a-thon and Stem Cell Awareness Event!

We have our fingers crossed that we'll have a fabulous turnout. Can you imagine if you end up being a match for Dr. Abhijit Guha or Carolyn Tam or anyone else waiting for a transplant?

Even if that's not the case, we have made the effort to get people thinking about registration. Every story in the media, facebook page, e-mail, conversation - they all matter. It's like that Gandhi quote: "We need to be the change we wish to see in the world."

Fill out a form, take a cheek swab - it's the first step towards change.

More details on the event can be found here. The map is here.

Hope to see you at The Tagore Centre!