Friends of Nalini Ambady, a Stanford University professor who is battling cancer and urgently needs a stem cell donor, are conducting a walk-in drive on Sunday here to find a potential donor.

The organisers are seeking a person with roots in Kerala or South India, between 18 and 50 years of age, at the Jawaharlal Nehru National Youth Centre at 219 Deen Dayal Upadhayay Marg near ITO between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Sunday.

In 2004, Nalini was diagnosed with cancer. It went into remission, but came back stronger in November 2012. A search for a stem cell donor in Indian and international registries failed.

Her plight has received much attention on social media especially social networking website Facebook. The potential donor has to be subjected to a simple five-minute cheek swab, the organisers said.

“Though anyone can be a match, her best chance of finding a donor is from among members of her Kerala community. The donation process is nearly as simple as giving blood. No blood is taken just the stem cells from your blood. It is not painful, though there are chances of some pain/weakness in the bones for a few days,” the organisers said.

Her friends emphasised that while the drive is important for Nalini, the more the names in the registries, the greater the chances others have of finding a donor.

“This is an opportunity to get more names into the registries so anybody, anywhere, who gets cancer has a better chance of a match and therefore a better chance at life,” the organisers said.

Those seeking more information can send an e-mail to, or phone Nalini’s help line at +91-99670-51527, or Nayantara Patel +91-98119-07353.

Nalini studied Psychology Honours at Lady Shri Ram College for Women.

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