Overshadowed by the outbreak of COVID-19 throughout the globe, blood cancer and blood disorders are still a woe to many of them out there. Kiranmai Srinija, Counsellor, donor recruiter and co-ordinator of DATRI, Vizag, shares her views.
Blood stem cell transplant is a cure for patients suffering from blood disorders. This happens when a matched donor donates his/her blood stem cells and these are transplanted to the patient. Some of these patients do not have a lot of time left for such a transplant.
The lockdown situation has affected the process of facilitating blood stem cell transplants and transporting blood stem cells across state borders to where the patients are hospitalized. Travel restrictions, the corona risk at hospitals to recipients and donors, along with the lockdown have forced hospitals to postpone blood stem cell and bone marrow transplantations for patients with fatal blood disorders.
So, what did DATRI (India’s largest Blood stem cell donor Registry) do at these challenging times? Cancer hasn’t taken a break due to corona, nor did they! Continuing online registrations, virtual fundraising programs and making few donations possible, the last DATRI donation, which happened during this lockdown, was from Kochi, Kerala to a recipient being treated at Chennai, Tamil Nadu. The blood stem cells (product) which usually reaches within a day, reached the hospital after 2 days, due to the extensive checking at the various police posts crossed during the journey.
While coming to the situation of the pre-existing survivors in the city, a 27-year-old woman was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML)-a type of cancer. She was supposed to be admitted for transplant but was compelled to take an extra dose of chemo since she cannot travel to hospital for the transplant in the absence of train availability during the lockdown.
A mother of 8-year year-old girl of Visakhapatnam is having a hard time to cure her thalassemia major child. She has to struggle for blood transfusion too, as there is a shortage of blood in the blood bank. In this Covid situation, blood cancer patients are the most vulnerable people who are looking for urgent support.
Registering through online, donating funds and volunteering to the cause at http://www.datri.org could be a great help at these headwinds faced by DATRI due to Covid.