Let’s Help Amit Defeat Leukemia!

This morning, I learned that a fellow member of our NY metro tech community, Amit Gupta, has recently been diagnosed with acute leukemia.  Amit is the founder of Photojojo and the co-founder of Jelly, a co-working community that started in NYC in 2006 and has spread to over 60 cities worldwide.  Amit also helped bring the first two BarCamps to NYC in 2005 & 2006.

Amit needs help. Tony Bacigalupo and the folks over at the New Work City co-working space are hosting an event on Friday 10/14 to help find potential bone marrow donors of South Asian descent.  Given that our industry, and local community, has a significant South Asian population, we can help Amit.

I’m re-posting Tony’s post here for my readers. If you are of South Asian descent, please read Tony’s post and consider getting tested to see if you can be a donor.  Please share with friends and colleagues.  Thanks!

Via Tony Bacigalupo: http://happymonster.co/2011/10/06/lets-help-amit-gupta-defeat-leukemia/

Amit has Leukemia. Help us help him!

Update: The best thing you can do is get anyone you know of South Asian descent to take a very simple, free, painless test and spread the word to their friends.There is a cost associated with each test, but the person taking the test is not required to pay it. We are, however, trying to raise as much money as we can to support the test costs. You can take the test at our party on October 14th or register online to receive a kit!

Send any dollar amount to 4amit@nwc.co on Paypal to help!

Update #2: In the comments below, Ziv points out the following things:

(1) Registering and getting the swab kit, is free.
(2) The transplant is not done through a needle in the back, in most cases. It’s done via a blood-transfusion-like machine, and is totally painless.

I’m not an expert at any of this, though I am learning fast! Best bet if you have any questions is to check the official sources, like marrow.org.

Update #3: By “South Asian” I am told that means (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, or Sri Lanka).

Update #4: A page that is chock full of resources and details can be found here: http://u.nwc.co/4amitdoc

Yesterday, we lost one of the great luminaries of our time to cancer.

Today, we have an opportunity to help others in their fight. In particular, one of the most special people I know: Amit Gupta.

Amit is the founder of the endlessly wonderful DIY photography site Photojojo. He’s the cofounder of Jelly, a casual coworking community which started in New York in 2006 and spread to over 60 cities worldwide, acting as the starting point for countless coworking communities. The original Jelly in New York was my first coworking experience, and my firsthand inspiration to dedicate myself to what would become New Work City.

Jelly was formed at House 2.0, a place Amit co-founded after college as a den of geeky happiness. House 2.0 was a big beautiful loft space in midtown, where creative art projects and the markered scrawlings of visitors adorned the walls everywhere, and where something as crazy as Jelly could live. I moved into House 2.0 when Amit moved out in 2007; it was my first home in New York City since I was a baby.

Amit has changed the world with his actions and through the people he has inspired. Anyone who knows him will tell you that he is one of the most special people they know, and they are right. Rarely will you find an individual with such a combination of warmth, charm, and tenacity.

Amit has leukemia. He was diagnosed only two weeks ago, but already so much has happened. He’s undergoing chemotherapy now at Connecticut’s Smilow Cancer Center in Yale-New Haven Hospital, near his family.

To aid him in his fight, Amit is going to need a bone marrow transfusion. Unlike blood transfusions, finding a genetic match for bone marrow that his body will accept is no easy task. The national bone marrow registry has 9.5 million records on file, yet the chances of someone from South Asian descent of finding a match are only 1 in 20,000.

This is where we come in. We’re going to destroy those odds.

How? By finding and registering as many people of South Asian descent as we possibly can.

Tests are easy– a simple swab of the cheek. If someone is determined to be a match, that person would have to be willing to undergo an outpatient procedure in which marrow is extracted from bones in the back by a special needle. It’s not a fun procedure, but it’s not dangerous either. And doing it could save a life.

That’s why, starting now, we are encouraging anyone of South Asian descent between the ages of 18 to 60 to take a test to see if you’re a match.

You can register online for your test, or, if you’re in New York, you can join us Friday, October 14th, for a special party we are throwing to rally support.

We’ll have test kits on hand at the party, as well as music, booze, and maybe even a photo booth. It will, for the first time, combine a House 2.0-style party with a New Work City-style party, and if you’ve ever been to either, you know they are always something special.

Even if you can’t attend or get tested, you can still help.

The bone marrow tests are somewhat expensive, and we want to do our part to pay for the tests we will be sending in. To that end, you can donate using the below registration form to help!

You can also help by reaching out to any South Asian friends you know and asking them to spread the word to their friends and relatives.

Minorities are severely underrepresented in the bone marrow registry, so getting more people to register could help save many other lives as well.

Despite all of his challenges, Amit has maintained an unstoppable attitude of positivity and energy. Let’s do the same and help him defeat this thing, so he can continue to inspire us with his awesomeness for many years to come.

Direct link to the party: http://brownbones.eventbrite.com

Help spread the word on Facebook: http://facebook.com/event.php?eid=268285533204616

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