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About SAMI

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Hi, I'm Soren. I started SAMI when I learned about how under-represented South Asians are in the stem cell and bone marrow registries. I think it's pretty amazing that everyday people can be living-donors, and cure someone else's cancer by donating their healthy stem cells or bone marrow to another patient. How often can we say there is a cure and we can be that cure? But only 3% of the people who have signed up to be a stem cell donor are South Asian. As a result, there is less than a 40% chance that a South Asian will find a life-saving match.

 

It occurred to me that people just may not realize their potential to be someone's cure. Matches are usually found within the same ethnic group, so I thought I could go to community gatherings where I could reach a lot of South Asians.

I wasn't sure if people would be open to it. On a random Saturday afternoon I decided to try. I called the Jayahanum Temple and asked the priest if I could set up a table. When the very first young couple I approached easily and excitedly opted in, I was hooked, and wanted to do more. 

I started hosting small events at community gatherings where we could reach a lot of South Asians to raise awareness about the issue and sign people up into the registry. I've since partnered with the two largest registries in the US to host awareness and registration drives at local temples and community events to reach more of the South Asian community. At the temples, I met families who said they had been looking for a match, families who lost family members because they didn't find a match in time, and even someone whose cancer had been cured after months of searching for a donor. We have grown SAMI out of Seattle and are focused on starting chapters across the country and on university campuses. There are other ethnic groups that are also under-represented in the registry, and we hope to expand our formula to launch efforts in those communities as well. Please reach out if you'd like to get involved!

Soren Ghorai 

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