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Each day, more than 6,000 men, women and children search the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) Registry for a life-saving donor like you. These patients have leukemia, lymphoma and other blood cancers that can be treated by a bone marrow or cord blood transplant. For many of these patients, a transplant may be the best and only hope of a cure.

Because tissue types are inherited, patients are more likely to match someone from their own race or ethnicity. South Asians, unfortunately, make up less than 2% of donors on the National Marrow Donor Registry. Nearly 75% of South Asians that require a bone marrow transplant to live do NOT receive one because of the shortage of potential donors.

We can use the spirit of chardi kala and the urgency of vand chakna to help save lives. If you’re in the Boston area, between the ages of 18-60, in general good health, and committed to donating, you can put your ideals into practice this Sunday.

Where? Gurudwara Sikh Sangat Society Boston at 561 Windsor Place, Somerville, MA

When? Sunday, October 5th from 10 AM – 2PM

No blood tests are required to be on the registry; rather you’ll use a long cotton swab to swab the insides of your cheeks for 10 seconds. The cells that are collected on the swab are sent to be tested for human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genetic markers. Your HLA type is entered into the national registry; if a patient’s HLA type matches yours, you will be contacted by the NMDP and asked if you can donate.

Learn more at http://www.marrow.org/ABOUT/Need_for_Donors/index.html.

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Sikhswim helped spread the word about the Khalsa Health Fair held in Richmond Hill, New York last weekend. Volunteers with the Khalsa Health Foundation, in collaboration with Queens Hospital, provided primary health care screenings and services to the local community.

Hmm, that person in the orange looks strangely familiar, but I digress.

A broad spectrum of people were seen: from young mothers and fathers to undocumented and uninsured sevadars. I was afraid that we would be walking into a pool of rampant uncontrolled hypertension and diabetes, but fortunately, pre-hypertension seemed to be the diagnosis of the day. It was difficult to provide education on improving cardiovascular health in 60 seconds (especially when super salty langar with jalebis and mithai were being freely served downstairs), but attempts were made to connect folks to the surrounding health care system.

It was awesome to see so many young Sikhs spending their weekend helping out as well– definitely a powerful reminder that the Sikh youth are not apathetic but leaders in the making. All in all, the rhythm and pulse of compassionate Sikhs were in sync making for a wonderful day of seva and spirited efforts. Hooray for health fairs!