Crowdsourcing to Save a South Asian Tech Entrepreneur's Life
Social media is great. Not only can you harness its power to start revolutions and circulate videos of furry animals doing cute things — you can help save someone's life. About three weeks ago, San Francisco-based Photojojo and Jelly co-founder Amit Gupta was diagnosed with acute leukemia. The 32-year-old entrepreneur is currently undergoing treatment, and the next step for him is a bone-marrow transplant. However, despite the 9.5 million people registered on the National Bone Marrow Registry, Amit's chance of finding a bone-marrow match is only one in 20,000 — because he is of South Asian descent.
Amit used his Tumblr blog to tell his story and search for a matching donor. Since then, friends and colleagues have been campaigning to find a match for him through social media in addition to organizing offline events. The #ISwabbedForAmit hashtag (see below) on Twitter has been picked up by leading news sources like CNN and TechCrunch. Marketing expert Seth Godin, Aviary co-founder Michael Galpert, and Vimeo co-founder Jake Lodwick have all offered a combined $30K and blog coverage for the person who is the first perfect marrow match.
South Asians (from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka) who are willing to donate bone marrow can order a free swab kit from marrow.org to find out if they are a match. People in the New York City area can attend the WANTED: Brown Bones Benefit Party this Friday which will offer drinks, music, registration kits, the opportunity to make donations and take pictures in a photobooth with the organizers. Other ways to help include organizing a donor drive, making a donation directly to Amit and, most importantly, spreading the word to as many South Asian people as possible.