Shabas gives new lease of life to 10-year-old Manasvi (India)

Giving life is a divine act, and that was how Kiran Kumar Karamchedu described the act of blood stem cell donation by Shabas T.S. that gave his daughter Manasvi a new lease of life.

In an emotional get-together of the donor and the recipient here on Thursday, Shabas, Kiran Kumar, Manasvi, and Manasvi’s mother Kamala could not hold back their tears as they hugged each other.

At the meeting organised by Datri, the blood stem cell donor registry, 23-year-old engineering graduate Shabas, choking with emotion, said he was happy and proud to see the little girl and her family.

For 10-year-old Manasvi from Hyderabad, Shabas was a godsend. A thalassemia major patient, Manasvi is now back at school, with doctors certifying that she has been cured of the illness. She was diagnosed with the disorder when she was five months old.

Speaking about the trauma, Kiran Kumar said he was constantly worried about the next blood transfusion for her daughter. “It is difficult to find enough blood donors. We had even gone to the US to register as a recipient for blood stem cell. That is when we were told about the Datri registry in India,” he added.

Datri, which conducts registration camps and takes care of counselling and logistics for transplant needs, organised the donor and recipient meet after a year of the procedure.

When selected as a match for donation, Palluruthy native Shabas did not think twice. “In fact, I had attended a blood stem cell registration camp at my college just to bunk classes. But it turned out to be a turning point in my life,” he said. With his siblings and parents Salim T.H. and Ayisha supporting the cause, here was a donor for whom Datri had little counselling to do.

“There had been instances where donors had backed out when they were contacted to inform that they had been found match for a patient,” said Neeraj Siddharthan, haematologist, who has facilitated over 30 blood stem transplants through Datri.

Datri co-founder Raghu Rajagopal said even though the NGO had facilitated 285 donations and had a database of 2,67,643 voluntary donors, it had been an uphill task to get enough blood matches to reach the donation stage. “It is indeed once-in-a-lifetime chance to become a donor. I had registered in the U.S. and here too but have never found a match for a patient so far,” he said.

The probability of finding a match is from one in 10,000 to one in two million. But when a match is found, that donor is the only person who could save the patient.

Aby Sam, who also heads the Datri team in the State, said over 50,000 registrations had been made in the State. Shabas’ blood stem cells were collected in Kochi and were delivered to a hospital in Chennai where the transplant was done.