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JammuYoung Thalassemia Survivor meets German Lifesaver, Emotions Run High

Young Thalassemia Survivor meets German Lifesaver, Emotions Run High


Tawi: In a heart-warming moment, 17-year-old Chirag, a thalassemia survivor from , finally met the man who gave him a second chance at life – his stem cell donor, Roman Simnizki from Germany. Chirag battled thalassemia, a genetic blood disorder that significantly impacts patients' quality of life. For most of his childhood, Chirag had to endure fatigue and other complications along with regular blood transfusions.For ten years, his family tirelessly searched for an unrelated donor. Their efforts finally yielded results in 2016 when a perfect match was found – Roman, a 29-year-old from Münsingen, Germany, through the DKMS database.“Meeting Roman was an overwhelming experience,” shared Chirag. “Words cannot express how thankful I am for his selfless act. He didn't just donate stem cells; he gave me a future.”Roman, who travelled to India to meet Chirag, echoed the sentiment. “There's no greater joy than knowing you've helped someone in need. Seeing Chirag healthy and full of life is the biggest reward.”Chirag's treating physician, Dr Revathi Raj, PaediatricHaematologist, Apollo Hospitals Chennai, said, “There is a significant burden of Thalassemia in our country, as more than 10,000 children are born with the disease every year. Beta-thalassemia major is a severe form of the disease that requires regular blood transfusions and, potentially, a stem cell transplant for a cure. I am happy that today Chirag is recovered and a bright future awaits him. I hope more people like Roman register as potential stem cell donors so more patients can undergo lifesaving stem cell transplants.”Talking about the DKMS-BMST Thalassemia program, Patrick Paul, CEO of DKMS-BMST, said, “To support Thalassemia patients in India, we have launched the DKMS-BMST Thalassemia program. Under this program, DKMS-BMST collaborates with local NGOs and transplantation clinics to organise camps where pediatric thalassemia patients and their families travel from far places, sometimes from very remote places in India, to give buccal swab samples for HLA typing. Samples from the camps are analysed in the DKMS laboratory based out of Germany and clinical matching reports of the same are provided. In cases where there is no HLA match sibling for a sick child, we also support unrelated donor searches for patients.” “Donating blood stem cells is a voluntary act of solidarity with a seriously ill person. The availability of matching blood stem cell donors remains a significant challenge for Indian patients in need of life-saving transplants. India has a young population, so it is crucial to encourage more people to register as stem cell donors. Their continued participation in the registry significantly improves the chances of locating matching donors for patients requiring assistance,” said the spokesperson at the event, Dr. Sunil Bhat, Director & Clinical Lead, Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Blood & Marrow Transplantation, Narayana Health.

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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