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Obama campaigns for life of South Asian man

July 09, 2007 08:53 IST
Democratic presidential candidate, US Senator Barack Obama, has joined the personal campaign of Vinay Chakravarthy struggling to find a donor of South Asian origin to help him undergo a bone marrow transplant to alleviate a life-threatening form of leukemia he is suffering from.

Chakravarthy, a native of Fremont, California, is a resident in orthopedics in the Boston Medical Center. He has been diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia and has been severely constrained to find a 'match'. Only about 1.5 per cent of South Asians or one in 20,000 living in the United States have registered themselves with the National Marrow Donor Program.

Obama, has been exhorting the South Asian community in the US and the country to embrace Chakravarthy's efforts to find a suitable match for him and several other South Asians living in the US desperately waiting for their matches to get transplants. He has said in a letter that 'Team Vinay'-- comprising Chakravarthy's friends and well-wishers who have come together and are conducted more than 120 marrow drives in about 10 states and are planning many more to find him a match. Obama sought further support so that Chakravarthy's can survive.

In his missive, posted on the website of South Asians for Obama '08, Obama writes, "Vinay Chakravarthy is 28 years old, a son, a husband, and an aspiring doctor, who has been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, and we can save his life."

He notes, "Vinay's cancer can be cured with a simple bone marrow transplant. As a South Asian, Vinay has only a 1 in 20,000 chance of finding a bone marrow match, which is his only chance to survive."

"We must encourage all of our friends and family inside and outside the South Asian community to register, commit to donating, and do so immediately, as Vinay needs this match by July 10," Obama has said.

The lawmaker commended 'Team Vinay's effort to obtain 20,000 registered donors by July 10, and pointed out that "to date, they have reached 6,904 donors, so we have a lot of work to do."

According to Obama, "Together we can reach out to communities across the country and remind them that we -- members of Vinay's family, community, and country -- have a responsibility to help."

"We should all see ourselves in Vinay and realise that he deserves the same support we would wish for a member of our own family or even ourselves," he adds, and declares his support for "Team Vinay's continued good work and shares hope that "...we can come together to help Vinay."

Team Vinay have put up a website (http://www.helpvinay.org) with all of the details to help potential donors register and have said that with just a 10-minute visit "...and a simple swab test, you can add your name to the marrow donor registry."

Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC