More than a hundred people turned up at Rama Varma Club in Kochi on Friday for a noble purpose.

They had gathered to sign up for donating their bone marrow. The donation drive, which will continue on Saturday, was organised to find stem cell donors for Nalini Ambady, one of the world’s leading researchers in social psychology.

Professor Ambady, who hails from Ernakulam, was a professor at Stanford University’s psychology department. The mother of two is suffering from Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML), a cancer of the blood and bone marrow, and requires stem cell transplant immediately. Among those who turned up to register for the donation on Friday was a woman who had already donated one of her kidneys.

“The donation is a simple process. It is not dangerous at all,” said one of the organisers of the donation drive. The details of those who register for bone marrow donation could potentially benefit not just Prof. Ambady, but others suffering from the disease too, said organisers. When a person registers at the donation drive, their details are entered into a registry from where it can be matched against potential recipients.

Friday’s donation drive in Kochi also found enquiries from people in different parts of the State who are also suffering from AML.

Prof. Ambady is the first Indian to teach at the psychology departments of both Harvard and Stanford universities. Her research in social psychology has been widely studied and documented across the world. Her research was also a key part of Blink, a bestselling self-help book by Malcolm Gladwell. Prof. Ambady was first diagnosed with AML eight years ago. She had been in remission, but was diagnosed again this year. A complete match from whom she can receive stem cells is likely to be from the same ethnic background as she is. Her friends and family are organising donation drives in Kochi, Mumbai, Chennai, Dubai and other places to find donors quickly.

The donation drive on Saturday will also be held at Rama Varma Club near Durbar Hall ground between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.

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