Good news everyone! Photojojo co-founder Amit Gupta — who was diagnosed with Leukemia last September, and managed to whip up a storm of support from the tech community — announced today that he has found a perfectly matched bone marrow donor.
If all goes well with the transplant, Gupta can look forward to many more years of fun and interesting tech projects. While in New York, he helped spark the tech community to life and started the co-working event Jelly. While at Amherst College (which we both attended), he created the Daily Jolt, a community site for colleges and universities.
Finding a matching donor was particularly tough for Gupta. Being South Asian, there was about a 1 in 20,000 chance for him to find an existing genetic donor in the national bone marrow registry. So friends, family, and fellow techies from all over the world came to the rescue, putting together over 100 donor drives to register people of South Asian descent.
Gupta says that he’ll be admitted tomorrow to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston tomorrow, where he’ll endure another round of heavy chemotherapy that will obliterate his immune system. Next week he’ll receive his donor’s stem cells and begin taking immunosuppressants, which will keep his body from rejecting the foreign cells.
During this period, his body will be undergoing crazy changes, as Gupta writes:
Meanwhile, the stem cells make their way to my bone marrow and, with some luck, start producing platelets, red blood cells, and white blood cells. At this point, my blood type changes to the blood type of my donor. And my blood will now have my donor’s DNA, not my own.
This is science fiction stuff. I can hardly believe it’s even possible, and there’s lots of chances for things to go wrong. It’s frightening.
There’s always the chance of a relapse occurring, and Gupta also has to deal with the possibility of rejection from the donor’s cells, but he’s certainly on a much better track now.
“I’ve got a long road ahead,” Gupta writes. “But I’ve got a donor & amazing family & friends. A few months ago I didn’t have many options. Today I have a plan.”