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  Gaurav was detected with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), a very aggressive form of blood cancer in Nov 2008.
He underwent a Matched Unrelated Donor Bone Marrow Transplant (MUD from an Italian Donor) at CMC Vellore in October 2009.
Today, with God's grace and prayers of friends and family, he lives with his family in Ahmedabad. He has quit his corporate career and is happily engaged in the Social Sector trying to uplift the quality of life of the rural poor.
Home EMail Gaurav Download
 
Contacts
GAURAV TANDON
Ahmedabad, India
EMail: reply_gt@yahoo.com
Mobile: +91.95865.50304

ANURADHA TANDON (Wife)
Ahmedabad, India
Mobile: +91.73838.83957

KAUSTUBH DESHMUKH
Mumbai, India
EMail: krdeshmukh@gmail.com
Tata Telecom Group
MUKUR MANKAD
California, US
EMail: mukur@hotmail.com
Mobile: +1-408-786-4879
Shantilal Shah Alumni
VISHAL KEKRE
Mumbai, India
EMail: vishalkekre@hotmail.com
Mobile: +91-98720-41175
My Updates for You!
 
Update 27 7-Jun-10
Thanks to your prayers & love itís been eight months since the date of transplant. Exactly 8 months ago i was going thru my last radiation cycle and the transplant started at 6:30PM! And what a coincidence, today we are back again in CMC. Vellore has nice cool weather now. All new faces (of patients) here. This place is bustling with energy, with pain & hope.
Cancer is a great leveller; it can challenge the young & the old, the rich & the poor, the educated & the ignorant, male or female, irrespective of religion, socio-economic status, cast or color of skin. However, one thing that strikes you is the poverty & disease is the worst combination to have. Also that kids fighting this battle are blissfully unaware of the gravity of it and maybe thatís the reason that they do well.
With so much insecurity to life, I sometimes wonder why some people take their own precious lives.. maybe they have had enough and canít take it anymore. If only there were a way to tell people to cherish life and its beauty in various forms of nature, in its people and in their work and that Ďthis shall pass tooí... why should you die only because you lost your love, failed in an exam, got scolded by teacher, had a tiff with your spouse, or whatever Ďreasoní. Yet, since we canít stop all of them, imagine if they could Ďdonateí their lives to people who are fighting for a chance to live.

My blood work is not too abnormal for a transplant patient. It turned out that I was unnecessarily blaming sun for my tanned looks; these might be symptom of a possible GVHD. Iím also advised to stick to my drug schedule for next 6 weeks and see the doc post that.

 
Update 26 4-Jun-10
Dear friends, here is a note on the Dr Mammen Chandy who handled my relapse & transplant case at CMC Vellore.

A man with childlike enthusiasm and an infectious smile, Dr Mammen Chandy is a true Ďkarma-Yogií. One can say heís the father of Bone Marrow Transplant activities in India. He and his team at CMC Vellore have saved many precious lives over the last three decades.

A very unassuming individual who believes in simplicity (mostly seen in white half-sleeve shirt he gets up very early in the morning and makes his own tea!), heís loved & respected by his patients, their families, junior doctors, nursing staff and whoever comes in his contact.

At 60, he can easily outshine people half his age in terms of sheer energy and dedication towards his work (he comes to the hospital at 8am, mint-fresh, even after long international flights which would reach him home at 3am earlier in the day!)

I remember how his smiling face, his reassuring touch & words used to give great relief to my anxious mind during those high risk days of transplant and subsequent the infections & complications. I used to eagerly look forward to his daily Ďroundsí. He would shield me and my family from the stress caused by the die-hard complications and would himself spend sleepless nights thinking about the treatment options.

Itís impossible not to mention another complimentary & harmonizing force that we experienced at CMC Vellore: Mrs Mammen Chandy! A very loving, caring and graceful lady, she is a soothing cool shade for the scorched & weary souls of the patients and their family members. She would make nice & soft idlis, refreshingly cool jelly, oats porridge for me and also bring me movie DVDs. Hundreds of small kids who suffered from blood disorders and their patients would agree with me.

Together what Dr Mammen & Mrs Mammen have done for the patients and their family cannot be described in words, it can only be felt.

Now, Dr. Mammen has been busy with his new role as Director of Tataís Cancer hospital, Kolkata. Heís building the state-of-art 150-bed cancer hospital from scratch which will serve needy patients from across India, especially the large number of them from the North-East who otherwise would have to travel far away from their home to CMC or AIIMS or Tata Memorial.

Heís Vice Chair at CIMBTR (Center for International Blood & Marrow Transplant Research) and heads itís Asia operations. CIBMTR collaborates with the global scientific community to advance hematopoietic cell transplantation and cellular therapy research worldwide.

We wish him all the best and pray for his and his familyís with health & happiness.

His Favorite:
Book: To Kill A Mocking Bird by Harper Lee
Food: Appam
Hobby: Gardening
Advice to patients &†family members: Take each day at a time!

Update 25 3-May-10
Dear friends, Iím happy to share with you that we have shifted from Mumbai to Ahmedabad after spending around eleven years in Mumbai. As you can understand it wasnít an easy decision.

We have a much better family support here as both my sisters & my in-laws live very close by and Iím lucky to have very good doctors taking care of me (ex-CMC). The place is also quite light on your wallet!

While we are quite at home here, we miss our Mumbai & all our friends very much. Hope to come back some day!

Last month was extremely hectic as we had to run around in the dry heat and dust of the day for my sonís school admissions, rental house, doctors visits etc. Since we were a little late for admissions we had to knock the doors around 7 schools with special request letters. Finally he got admission in DPS Gandhinagar.

We also finalized on a rental duplex very near to his school (6 KM / 15 min only!). Itís a very spacious house. So if you happen to visit Aíbad, please be our guests. My new address / contact nos. details are updated on the website.

However, during this entire flurry of activities I was 'jailed' for a good 5 days at Sterling hospital due to severe chest infection. Doctors believe I finally have chronic GVHD but itís in my lungs (the donor cells have started attacking my lungs). Itís not the best of the places to have GVH esp in my case since my lungs have been already weak due to past infections. Anyway, theyíve started treatment with immuno-suppressants, steroids, AB, AF and AV and Iíll be under observation for next several months.

Now that most of the work related to home shifting & admissions related worries are off my chest, I can focus on my lungs! With your love and prayers Iím sure weíll be able to tide over this issue also. ďTrust His Timings, Wait for His Answers and Rejoice in His presenceĒ

Thanks for your prayers & wishes!
 
Update 24 16-Dec-09
About ten days ago, the blood counts suddenly dropped to alarmingly low levels thereby increasing the risk of opportunistic infections. This was due to immuno-suppressants which are being administered to prevent Graft Vs Host Disease (GVHD).

In GVHD the WBCs of new marrow start to attack not only any residual cancer cells but also solid organs like liver, gut, skin, etc. which can become very nasty. Hence GVHD is a double-edged sword but a necessary evil too.

So as doctors stopped immuno-suppressants on 7th Dec to pep-up the counts, we are now treading in the GVH domain with crossed fingers for a low grade & controlled GVH. Sounds like Ďcherry-pickingí!

Thanks for your prayers & wishes!
 
Update 23 28-Nov-09
With your best wishes and Godís grace, Gaurav was discharged from the hospital on 26th November after a stay of seventy five days. He needs to go to the hospital every Monday and Thursday for checkups.

He still needs to stay in Vellore for a couple of months more. Shall keep you posted on regular basis.

Thanks for continuing to keep him in your prayers!
 
Update 22 30-Oct-09
Update from Gaurav:

After 24 days of dazed isolation in BMTU, on 26th Oct my WBC counts were okay thanks to growth factors shots and hence the doctors decided to shift me out of BMT into a less isolated area where Anu can be with me around the clock. The platelets still hover around a dangerously 3-4 K range despite daily blood and platelets support and some nasal bleeding.

My body has retained around 12 kgs extra fluids around my legs and feet. Doctors put me on albumin and diuretics to drain it out. In BMT, the other nasty infection I got causes extreme pain & swelling groins. Itís impossible to even sit. We are now awaiting all the blood parameters to stabilize before Iím discharged. It can take itís own sweet time.

Till then friends itís prayer time!
 
Update 21 09-Oct-09
Gaurav started undergoing pre-transplant tests by end of last month. He was moved to the BMT room on 2-Oct and was given high dose of Chemo-therapy for next 2 days. This was followed by total body radiation (TBR) for next 3 days. The purpose of Chemo and TBR was to ensure that there are no cancerous cells left in the body. Also, this completely destroyed the cancerous bone marrow.

As Gaurav was going through pre-transplant procedures, simultaneously the identified donor also went through a series of steps to donate his stem cells. The stem cells were carried in person from Italy to Vellore. These reached Vellore on the morning of 7-Oct. The doctors immediately proceeded for transplant at 6.30PM on 7-Oct.

Gaurav has tremendous physical weakness (however the spirit is high!) at present. Also, the body immunity is close to zero. He needs to guard himself against smallest possible infection. For this, he has been kept in isolated and super-clean BMT room. No person except his wife is allowed entry in this room. His wife is also also allowed only for 2 hours during the day.

The blood counts should start coming up in another couple of weeks. Once this starts, his body immunity will start building up again. And slowly, the possibility of him catching infection will start diminishing.

The doctors claim 90 day post transplant period to be critical. Once Gaurav passes through this period, he should be safe. He needs your prayers during this period.

Your prayers have helped him till now. Please keep Gaurav in your prayers for few more days.
 
Update 20 04-Sep-09
29th August: After getting discharged on 25th August, Gaurav was re-hospitalized for two days due to a freak fever on 27th. Doctors did the bone marrow & lumber puncture (LP) test on 29th to check and confirm if the bone marrow and cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF) were free of cancer cells (remission). They also took the opportunity to inject his spinal cord with chemo drugs. This procedure is called triple intrathecal.

3rd September: We waited patiently with a hope to get the results of marrow and LP test results till the morning. Unfortunately, after two such painful rounds of tests, the results arenít still very encouraging. Bone marrow is diluted and hence inconclusive and CSF still has cancer cells. Hence they gave one more triple intrathecal LP today. They now plan to do both tests on 7th September to find out new status.

On the donor front, the potential 9/10 donor we had is still not finalized by NMDP. It remains a mystery as to why itís taking weeks to confirm his final status. Hence doctors here have started yet another search to find another potential donor. We wait as precious time slips out of hand. So net - net we are still not ready for the decisive battle (bone marrow transplant). Lets pray that things fall in place at the right time.

Thanks for keeping Gaurav in your prayers.
 
Update 19 25-Aug-09
Gaurav had extremely hard time coping up with the cancer relapse. He had high fever (104F) continuously for almost a fortnight. This was accompanied by lose motions almost 8-9 times a day for about the same period. All this has left Gaurav drained and extremely weak physically.

The blood counts are inching up slowly due to high dose of salvage chemo.

As I write this update, I just got information that Gaurav has been discharged from the hospital. He has been asked to eat a lot of food and excercise, so that he gets prepared for the transplant.

On remission front, the tests are yet to be conducted on Bone Marrow and Spinal fuild to check if Gaurav is in remission. These tests are expected to be performed on coming Monday. I hope cancer cells are all gone.

As mentioned earlier, Gaurav can proceed for transplant only if he is in complete remission (for both bone marrow and spine).

On donor front the doctors have decided to proceed with 9/10 match for the transplant.

Request your prayers and blessings for Gaurav!
 
Update 18 03-Aug-09
This update is not a very heartening one but the fact is our friend Gaurav had to face one more bitter reality. THE CANCER HAS RELAPSED. This happened some two weeks back.

Gaurav had to be immediately rushed to CMC Vellore within few hours of relapse. As the first task, the doctors at CMC Vellore are trying to get him in remission. To add to complications, the cancer has spread to some parts of Nervous System like the spine. This has made it more painful for Gaurav than ever before. However, the spirit with which Gaurav and Anuradha have taken life till now is admirable. We are all the way determined to defeat this disease again.

Gaurav's bone marrow from peripheral blood has been taken for testing on Friday and the result will be out today. His marrow from the spine will be taken out today for checking if he has come under remission. If both the results are positive then Gaurav will be going in for a BMT in another month or so.

Anuradha and Gaurav's mom have shifted their base to Vellore. They have taken a rented accommodation 2 Kms from Vellore. Amay (Gauravís son) is in Mumbai with his Nana Nani & attending school. Though he misses both Annu and Gaurav he has also taken it very understandingly. He will visit Gaurav and Annu in Vellore during Ganapati Vacation.

The Marrow result would be with us on Wednesday evening. Keep your prayers on for Gaurav.

Tomorrow (4-Aug) is Gaurav's birthday; we wish him many many happy returns of this day. We wish he will be cancer free tomorrow (by being in remission) and on his next birthday (by having a successful transplant).
 
Update 17 17-June-09
Update from Gaurav:

Dear friends

A twist in the tale.

The 10/10 donor that we found after months of waiting is now declared unsuitable for donation on medical grounds (guess since heís 58). It took them almost 6 weeks to reject him!

So we are going ahead with more searches and more testing with NMDP. It might take a few weeks before weíll know the new status.

Till then, please keep me in your prayers!

Lots of love & gratitude.

 
Update 16 27-May-09
Update from Gaurav:

Having found a willing donor about a month ago, we were getting ready for the transplant on 28th May or 5th June at Vellore. As luck would have it, the donor has gone on a vacation! And weíll only know about the status of his pending final health check once heís back which we don't know when!!

Having come so far in this journey, we only hope that heís healthy on his timely return. One wonders that there seems is a time for all events, as decided by Him and which may at best randomly coincide with your own personal wishes.

As someone said, God give me the courage to change the things I can, the grace to accept the things I canít change and the wisdom to know the difference.

In the meanwhile I am continuing with my daily dose of chocolates (Aaargh! those costly bitter ones) and regular blood tests. Good news is that the latest bone marrow test reveals that the cancer is still in remission.

Thank you for your love & care!
 
Update 15 30-Apr-09
This is one of the best updates (till now!) I am writting. We are very happy to share that - With God's grace and all your prayers & wishes

WE  HAVE  FINALLY  FOUND  A  DONOR.

This is a key milestone in this long & challenging journey. This was one thing over which we had absolutely no control; neither did we have proper visibility in the process. Fortunately, with God's grace, things have worked out in our favor "at right time".

Thank you all for your support, prayers and wishes.

Early in January 2009, when we started the fund raising exercise, we neither had a donor nor enough money. We were denied acceptance at CMC Vellore since they had a long waiting list (till Aug 09) and donor search had not even begun.

Hence we started working on both donor and money aspects keeping in mind any possible situation (type of donor and location of transplant center). We were aiming for the best combination where we get a 10/10 donor and we could do it in the MSKCC (New York, USA) or Fred Hutchison (Seattle, USA).

However after sometime, we realised that the USA option is not practically possible because of extremely high costs. Also the donor search seemed to be an ever-ending exercise.

In the meantime Gaurav's chemo also got over and risk of possible relapse was looming large. So without wasting precious time, we were actively considering to go for Haplo transplant (with Gaurav's sister as donor) in Israel. This was within financial reach (thanks to the funds we could collect finally). Also Dr Slavin's super-stature in this area gave us a lot of comfort.

However, most recently as we got the news that we finally found a 10/10 donor. As mentioned in an earlier update, a fully matched unrelated donor is better than a half-match (haplo) one. Hence, we have now ruled out the haplo option in Israel.

Also, other good news is that Dr Mammen Chandy from CMC Vellore obliged by agreeing to do the 10/10 transplant ASAP!

We have decided to get the transplant done from Dr Chandy at CMC Vellore.

Trust me it's one of the most difficult decisions which we ever took. We argued pros & cons endlessly, spoke to the medical experts, to transplant patients and finally tried to listen to our instincts and decided to follow the gut!

The transplant will be done tentatively around end of May. Gaurav will have to stay in Vellore for atleast 3 months.

We hope that the donor is able to donate as planned and we dont run into any unforeseen problem. We keep our fingers crossed until the stem-cells arrive in Vellore from US (the donor is in the US).

The most crucial part of the battle starts now.

Thank you for all your love, support and prayers!

Check this out - Click Here. Please scroll down to the end of the page.

PS: The cost of transplant in Vellore should be less than the amount of funds we have raised. Once Gaurav is successfully cured, he and the helpgaurav team wish to utilize the funds for a similar cause. We will appreciate your suggestions on this going forward.

For now, let us pray Gaurav has a successful transplant.
 
Update 14 13-Apr-09
The update is long overdue. Gaurav returned back to Mumbai last Saturday after a 15 day tour to his hometown in Punjab and a sojourn with his brother near Ajmer. All this of course after due permission from his doctors!

The family visited many holy places including Mata Naina Devi temple, Anandpur Sahib Gurudwara, Pushkar Temple and Ajmer Dargah during this period.

We are pleased to announce that we have achieved our financial targets for Help Gaurav campaign. Hence, we have stopped fund collection as of 13-April. It has been made possible only because of support from you. Many many thanks.

Gaurav's solitary flat in Kandivili, Mumbai has been sold.

On the donor front (Holy-Grail) we still await good news. It should have been out by now. Unfortunately, finding donor is on critical path now.

In the meanwhile Gaurav is getting mentally prepared for haplo transplant now. Doctors in Israel have tentatively given us date on 10-May.

PS: check out the pics of the trip. Here is the link. Please scroll down to the end of the page.
 
Update 13 24-Mar-09
The result of hi-resolution 10 factor Donor search should be out by next week. This is one of the most critical events.

According to Dr Fredrick Applebaum of Fred Hutchison hospital, Seattle, best is to have a donor in the following sequence..

1. Matched Sibling (Not available in Gaurav's case)
2. 10/10 Matched Unrelated Donor (MUD)
3. 9/10 Matched Unrelated Donor (Depending on which allele is a mismatch)
4. Haploidentical Donor
5. Autologous (Own marrow, ruled out again in Gaurav's case)

So it's either 2,3 or 4 for Gaurav.

The transplant MUST be done during 1st remission for best results.

So it's now a decision between:

a) Waiting for 10/10 or 9/10 unrelated donor
OR
b) Go with haploidentical donor (Gaurav's sister) right away without wasting any time

Top doctors's opinion is clearly divided on this.

So we've decided to keep both the options ready (working on travel documents & other formalities for a Haploidentical transplant in Israel) and MUD operation in Vellore/Israel as soon as we get a donor.

It appears that 'patience' is the name of the game in these uncertain moments. The key is to decide 'which type of donor' and 'when'would be best (timing is everything).

The collection figures have reached Rs. 1.225 Cr (Approx. US$ 272,000). Thank you very much!
 
Update 12 17-Mar-09
It's status quo as far as donor search is concerned.

The "cat finding" act mentioned in previous update is due to our complete dependence on Bone Marrow registeries outside India since we don't have a respectable one in our own country.

Since our race is different from their race, our chances of getting a match from these international registeries dwindle to less than 1 in a Million if one is 'lucky'!

If we had our own registry, the same chances improve to 1 in 20K!

So, I'd like to draw your attention to the pioneering work done by Mr Raghu Rajagopal for starting a respectable donor registry in India. Please visit http://www.datriworld.org for more information on Datri.

The process is very simple, painless and does not require blood to be drawn from the donor. A humble cotton swab will take buccal cavity cells from your mouth.

I request you to come forward and be our 'coach' in your organization/institution to conduct these drives. You may need to talk to your HR department / HoD. Our first drive in Mumbai is on 17-March at iFlex.

Your help will not only reach Gaurav but hundreds of children/adults who are eagerly waiting for an 'angel' to give them a new life.
 
Update 11 09-Mar-09
Once again our apologies for being a day late in the update. This week, Gaurav got a chance to write the update on his own. Here it goes:

With your good wishes & HIS blessings, I'm home and recovering fast.

On the donor front, the BIG search is still on (how I wish there were a Google-like service for this!).

It is a true test of one's patience & hope. There is little we can do to influence (read expedite) the search. Sometimes it feels like you with your eyes blindfolded are in a dark room looking for a black cat which may not be there!

On the funding front, with your fantabulous support we are today very close to our set target. We have contributions worth Rs. 1.19 Cr (Approx US$ 265,000).

Thank you for all the support!
 
Update 10 01-Mar-09
Gaurav has come back home from the hospital on Wednesday, 25-Feb. With Godís grace he did not develop any major complication or fever during this neutropenia.

With this, Gaurav has finished all of his 4 chemotherapy sessions over last 3 months. With no more chemotherapies due, we expect him to now recover fast over coming weeks.

Donor search is an unpredictable process in terms of both in terms of result of match-finding and the time it takes to get the stem cells from the donor. If we are lucky this entire exercise should take 6-8 weeks.

For us the donor matching and finalization is expected to be over by March end. If there is a match, donor stem cell collection should happen by the first half of April.

On the other hand, time is of critical importance here. Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) must happen while Gaurav is in remission (free of cancer), obtained from chemotherapy and before any relapse. This critical window period is also unpredictable!

Letís pray that all events happen at right time (and right place)!

So now itís recovery & re-vitalization time for Gaurav in preparation for the operation.

If you have any contact in Tel Aviv (in Israel) please let us know. It is one of the short-listed places for the operation.

In tune with this update, please note that I have extended the target collection deadline to 10-Apr. As mentioned in the previous updates, the collection response has been fabulous. We have received Rs. 1.11 Cr (Approx. US$ 247,000) till date. Thank you all. It has been wonderful!
 
Update 9 22-Feb-09
Gaurav was admitted in the hospital last Wednesday due to Neutropenia (side effect of Chemotherapy). He is recovering from low blood counts. Hopefully, his blood counts should improve substantially in a day or two and he should be discharged (historical data of past 3 chemos suggests this!!).

The donor search is taking agnozingly long. It is a frustrating experience when you do not know what to expect when. Unfortunately, we are in that situation where we are not sure how many days does donor search take! However, once this is resolved positively, Gaurav can straight away proceed for transplant.

Simultaneously, we are in the process of evaluating the transplant centers. As mentioned in the previous update, we have received quotes from Australia, Israel and UK. We are trying to get few quotes from the US; no major success yet. Your (those in the US) help here is appreciated.

On financial front, we have crossed the 1 Crore mark this week; we are at 1.06Cr (Approx US$235,000). Thank you all for your generous contributions. It is only with help from all of you that this is made possible. I am falling short of words to appreciate the support we have received for this campaign. I hope for continued support till we meet the target.
 
Update 8 15-Feb-09
Gaurav completed his 4th and final round of chemotherapy this week. This had got delayed by a week/10 days since Gaurav had come down with a fungal infection in the lungs for a major part of the week ending 02-Feb; this had caused him to be hospitalized for a major part of that week. Post the final round of consolidation, Gaurav is now back home recovering.

We do not have any updates on donor search results.

For Bone Marrow Transplant, we have been in touch with numerous oncologists across the world; notably in USA, Israel, UK, Australia, Italy & India. We are working on getting quotes from these hospitals; we have already received quotes from many. Once we have formal quotes from all the hospitals, we can decide the best possible option for Gauravís treatment.

Alternately, today Gaurav visited Vaidya Balendu Prakash , an Ayurvedic doctor in Mumbai. Dr. Prakash seems hopeful about Gauravís case.

One area that we continue to require immediate assistance is introductions to the media (newspapers, TV channels, radio stations, magazines, etc) in order to broad base our campaign. While we have had one-off success in reaching out to some channels (like India TV, DNA newspaper), this initiative continues to be a work in progress. Any assistance on this front would be most appreciated.

Apart from this, may I request all to post links to www.helpgaurav.com on as many blogs, websites and online forums (Facebook, Orkut, Friendster, etc). This will help us immensely in raising awareness about Gauravís cause.

Lastly, the total financial contribution has now reached an incredible INR 98L (Approx US$ 217,000)!! Our sincerest thanks to all the contributors. This has been an incredible leap of faith for all of us and I must admit, I am overwhelmed by the support that we continue to receive every day. Needless to say, this is still a journey (with total cost of the operation being upwards of US$ 300,000) and hence any support is most welcome.
 
Update 7 09-Feb-09
Pardon me this week for writing this update a day later than scheduled.

Gaurav was discharged from the hospital last Monday 02-Feb. That was the day when the fourth round of Chemotherapy was initially scheduled to happen. This was postponed to 09-Feb. So, Gauarav was back to hospital this morning for his 4th round of Chemo. However, doctors have not yet begun administering the chemotherapy. They are waiting for the CT scan report to check the status of fungal infection in the lungs before taking further action.

On financial front, the students of Thakur Engineering college have done a fantastic job. They have swung into action, knowing their favourite Anuradha M'am needs help. We saw them collect tremendous contributions over last week. They have collected INR 10L (Approx US$ 22,000) in just one week. Our totals this weekend are little more than INR 70L (Approx US$ 155,000).

Apart from this they have arranged media contacts. DNA published article about Anuradha and Gaurav on 07-Feb. Click HERE to read the DNA article. Hats off to the efforts from these students and their leader Hardik Semlani.

On Donor search, doctors have found 6 potential donors from NMDP (of the US) registry. They have shortlisted 3 potential donors and have requested further tests for these.

Stay tuned for more updates this weekend.
 
Update 6 01-Feb-09
Gaurav is still in the hospital since he was admitted on 21-Jan. The blood counts have started improving.

He has consistent fever since 26-Jan. The doctors have diagonized this due to the fungal infection in the lungs. The treatment for the fungal infection is a very long and expensive too. He has been recommended Pfizer's Voriconazole 200mg two tablets per day for 3 months. Each tablet costs Rs 1700 (US$ 36). We would appreciate if you or someone you know can help source this directly from Pfizer.

Collection figures read INR 41L (approx US$ 91,000) this weekend. We thank all of you who have contributed to this and urge others to come forward too to help us bridge the gap ASAP.

We have still not been able to get in touch with the Media. Please assist us in getting introduced to contacts in the Media industry (Newspapers, TV channels, Radio, etc). This will immensly help us spread the word about Gaurav's illness to a much larger audience and assist us in our fund collection efforts.
 
Update 5 25-Jan-09
Gaurav was admitted back to Hinduja hospital on 21-Jan due to fever and low blood counts (Neutropenia). Thankfully, his fever came under control shortly but counts are coming up gradually. This is an expected side effect of chemotherapy.

On the bone marrow donor search, the good news post the NMDP search, is that Gaurav has got 6 possible donors with 6/6 match and about 350 donors with 5/6 match. Now the doctors are progressing with a high resolution (10/10) match to finalize the donor. This search will take an additional 2 weeks. Once we find a 10/10 donor (or at least a 9/10 donor), Gaurav will have to proceed with the MUD transplant.

Depending on the money collected, we will then decide between getting him operated in the US (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, NYC or Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle); total cost of operation Ė approx. INR 2.25Cr (US$ 500,000) or in Israel (Ichilov Hospital, Tel Aviv); total cost of operation Ė approx. INR 1.125Cr (US$ 250,000).

Another option is to get a half-match (haploid) transplant done using his elder sister's marrow (half match only).

Net net, Gaurav will be undergoing the transplant in a matter of a few weeks now.

Given that time is of essence, we continue to look out for financial assistance from all. As of 25-Jan, our collections stand at INR 31L (approx US$ 69,000).

Lastly, following up on our last email blast, we would very much appreciate assistance from people in introducing us to contacts in the Media industry (Newspapers, TV channels, Radio, etc). This will help us broad base the "Save Gaurav" campaign; thereby spreading the word about Gaurav's illness to a much larger audience and assisting us in our fund collection efforts.
 
Update 4 18-Jan-09
Gaurav underwent the 3rd round of chemo (high dose of consolidation) at Hinduja starting Monday, 12th Jan. He is now back at home and thankfully continues to be in a state of remission.

On the financial front, I am extremely pleased to report that till now we have collected over INR 22L (Approx US$ 49,000) in contributions to assist Gaurav. Please do continue to spread the word about assisting Gaurav. Needless to say, at this stage, every cent counts.

In order to further augment his condition financially, Gaurav sold his solitary car last week.

Regarding the sale of his Kandivili house, Brokers have advised Gaurav that the sale should happen in the next few weeks, given the end of an ďinauspiciousĒ period for house buyers recently. Needless to say, we continue to be on the look out for possible buyers. Any assistance on the said front would be most appreciated.

Lastly, we have broad based the ďSave GauravĒ campaign by involving Media. Last week, Gaurav was interviewed by INDIA TV; the said interview will be aired over the next 1 week. Given the enormity of the funds required, we believe seeking the assistance of media (TV channels, Newsprint, Magazines, etc) would increase our coverage and efforts many folds. Hence, we would appreciate if any one of you can put Gaurav and Anuradha in touch with your personal contacts in Media Houses, either in India or overseas.

Many thanks once again for your continued support.
 
Update 3 10-Jan-09
Here is a quick update on Gaurav's treatment. He's due to undergo his 3rd chemo at Hinduja on Monday, 12th Jan for 3-4 days. This is high dose consolidation treatment to keep him in the state of remission.

Before this, after getting discharged from hospital on 3rd January, he was able to go to Vellore and meet Dr Mammen Chandy at CMC hospital on 6th & 7th of January. This was made possible with great help from some of you.

According to Dr Chandy also, he needs to go for MUD BMT (Matched Unrelated Donor Bone Marrow Transplant). They have taken his DNA samples and sent to USA for high resolution matching thro NMDP et al. The preliminary results will be out in 3 weeks.

So the next crucial step is to find a suitable 10/10 match donor for him.

Once we've found the donor he must immediately proceed for the said MUD operation. Since there is a long queue at CMC Vellore, we are evaluating other hospitals/doctors for the operation (Singapore, Israel, etc since in India only CMC Vellore does MUD BMT).

We have got estimates for treatment from Dr. Patrick Tan at Mt. Elizabeth Hospital, Singapore. The total estimate is roughly around SG$ 450,000 which roughly comes to around Rs. 1.5Cr (US$ 333,000).

Those in the USA, can also help here by actively conducting / facilitating Bone Marrow donor drives with help of SAMAR.org, et al.

Finally, we'd like to thank you sincerely for your contribution. We've collected close to INR 16L (Approx US$ 35,000) till date.

Please continue to spread the word to the prospective buyers for his flat & car.
 
Update 2 3-Jan-09
Till now, Gaurav has had 2 rounds of chemotherapy; as a result of which, he is currently in remission. Till early this week Gaurav was resting in his house; however, due to the sharp fall in white blood cells (WBC), his bodyís resistance dropped substantially and unfortunately, he contracted an infection on 1Jan09; consequently, he was re-admitted to Hinduja on the same day. I am given to understand that the doctors have now been able to control the said infection.

While Gaurav was resting at home, his wife (Anuradha) has been actively discussing his case with various senior doctors including Navin Khatry (Tata Hospital), Mehboob Bhasade (Jaslok), Hari Menon (Tata Hospital), B. A. Agarwal and Prof NK Mehra (AIIMS, Delhi) regarding various options going forward. Anuradha is also traveling to Vellore & Chennai (hopefully next week; once Gaurav comes back home) to meet doctors in Apollo Hospital, Chennai and Dr Mammon Chandy at the Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore. Any assistance in providing Anuradha introductions in these 2 hospitals would be most appreciated.

Simultaneously, we are awaiting Gauravís latest cytogenetic reports from Tata (within next week). Post receipt of this report, we will request the operating doctor to register Gauravís case with the Global Bone Marrow Donor Registry for matching purposes. Once the bone marrow donor is available (may take 30-45 days), the doctors would be able to provide us a clear road map.

In order to broad base our efforts; Gaurav, Anuradha and Aditya had also got in touch with the Cancer Patientís Aids Association (CPAA), Bombay to seek their assistance and advice. We have received good support from CPAA; who have also placed Gauravís case on their website (http://www.cpaaindia.org/casefile/index.htm#top) to seek aid from donors and raise awareness about Gauravís condition.

I am also extremely proud of the overwhelming support that Gaurav and Anuradha have been receiving from the SPJIMR Family; not just in the form of financial aid (Over INR 500,000 received in contributions till date) but also in the form of valuable suggestions, recommendations and moral support. Our sincerest thanks to everyone for the same.
 
Update 1 27-Dec-08
The latest update on Gauravís health is that the sibling bone marrow test results came out last Wednesday. Unfortunately, these donít match, i.e., Gaurav canít receive the transplant from either of his two sisters.

The only plausible solution now remaining is to find a neutral, un-related allogenic transplant donor. While there are a few, small bone-marrow banks in India , the serious and credible options reside in US, UK and Singapore .

Gauravís current doctor at Tata Hospital , Bombay will soon start the process of registering his request for a compatible donor at these overseas banks. The cost of retrieving the overseas bone-marrow and subsequently conducting the operation is c. INR 15-20Mn (c. USD 300,000-400, 000).

In view of the prohibitive cost of the procedure, I would now like to formally seek financial aid from fellow Alumni to meet Gauravís soaring medical expenses. This request has Gaurav's consent.

I would like to seek assistance from anyone who has any contacts at the Christian Medical College , Vellore so that we can get Gaurav an audience with Dr Chandy at the soonest possible.

In terms of Gauravís current medical condition, the 2nd round of Chemotherapy (called Consolidation) finished last Thursday; as a result, he is now in complete ďremissionĒ. While the doctors search for the matching bone-marrow donor, Gaurav would simultaneously go through 3 additional rounds of Chemotherapy to control his condition. I am attaching his latest medical reports for anyoneís reference.

Lastly, I would like to thank all those who have already responded to my first email. It gives me great pride in seeing such a tremendous response from all quarters. I am also attaching a recent picture of Gaurav and his family; I am sure all of us would like to see his Family happy again; hence, I look forward to your continued co-operation and support.

I will keep all updated on Gauravís condition and progress.


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