Just three years old, Pranathi Gondu has spent most of her life in and out of hospitals fighting Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL), a cancer of white blood cells. Her fight is finally paying off, thanks to stem cell donor Sadineni Venkateshwara Rao, who made it possible for her to undergo stem cell transplantation at CMC, Vellore, in July, 2011.

Since then, Pranathi’s recovery has been on track. A resident of Khammam, Mr. Rao had donated stem cells, hoping that one day they would be useful to someone. The donor and the recipient met face-to-face recently at a meeting organised by Datri Blood Stem Cell Donors’ Registry, an organisation involved in maintaining blood stem cells donor registry.

“We have been waiting for this moment. I wanted to thank Mr. Rao for saving my daughter’s life. People have to realise the significance of donating stem cells,” said an emotional Murali Gondu, a resident of Srikakulam.

Once Mr. Rao’s stem cells proved to be a genetic match for Pranathi, she underwent stem cell transplantation involving high doses of chemotherapy to kill leukemia cells. In chemotherapy, normal bone marrow cells, which produce blood, are also destroyed. It is here a donor’s stem cells play a crucial role. They are transplanted into the patient’s bone marrow, and the transplanted stem cells gradually restore the bone marrow’s ability to produce blood.

“It is a satisfying day because I have played a role in saving Pranathi’s life,” said Mr. Rao. His stem cells were collected and stored by Datri, which already has close to 40,000 voluntary stem cell donors across the country. “Stem cell transplantation also has the potential to treat disorders like Thalassemia. There is a need to spread awareness on stem cell donation,” said Raghu Rajgopal, CEO, Datri. To donate stem cells, visit www.datriworld.org

More In: Hyderabad