URGENT: Please Help Save Sonia Rai’s Life

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Begin forwarded message:

From: “Sumit Rai” <>
Date: December 18, 2010 3:52:06 PM PST
To: “Sanjay” <>
Subject: URGENT: Please Help Save Sonia Rai’s Life
Reply-To: “Sumit Rai” <>

Dear Friends and Family,

  Please take a moment to read this email. My baby sister, Sonia was diagnosed one week ago with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML), which is a cancer of the blood. She is in urgent need of a bone marrow transplant. Sonia is 24 years old, and receiving excellent care at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Her diagnosis caught us all by surprise and we need to act very quickly to find a bone marrow match.

  Sonia is currently undergoing intense chemotherapy but requires a bone marrow transplant quickly to survive beyond the next few months.  Increasing the number of South Asians registered as potential bone marrow donors will help Sonia and will benefit our whole community since there are currently not enough South Asians registered as donors. 

  I am grateful to all those who have already reached out to help.  There are some key things you can do right away — time is of the essence.  

  Five Things You Can Do To Help:

(you will also be able to access this information shortly at

1) Please get registered immediately.
Getting registered is quick and requires a simple, non-invasive cheek swab (2 minutes of your time) and filling out some forms (5 minutes of your time). Registering is VERY simple and does not require a blood test!

  We are organizing at least 10 bone marrow drives over the next 2 weeks, and plan to multiply that tenfold in the next 6 weeks.  These are the initial drives we are working to schedule:

  Dec 31st – New Years Eve at various South Asian Parties/Events (LA, SF, Boston, NYC/NJ, Philadelphia)
Jan 1st – New Years Day at Community Centers including temples (LA, SF, Boston, NYC, NJ)

  The fastest way to get registered is at one of Sonia’s donor drives in person. If you are unable to attend an event, you can register online at

2) Spread the word.
Please share this email message with at least 20 people (particularly South Asians), and ask them to do the same. Please use the power of your address book, the web, and social networking to spread this message – today more than ever before, we can achieve a broad scale effort and be part of a large online movement to save lives.  We need to get the word out quickly.  Saving Sonia is about numbers and odds. 

  Post the following message on your Facebook wall:  Please help Sonia Rai win her fight against leukemia! Visit to join the movement!

  Promote local drives within your network – we need people to attend and get registered in person. Local drive information will always be up-to-date at  

  3) Organize a drive.
If you can, sponsor a drive at your company or in your community. Drives need to take place in the next 1-2 weeks to be of help to Sonia.  Hosting a drive can be as simple as setting up a table at an existing event…so it doesn’t have to be very time consuming to plan.  Please contact for more info.

4) Learn more.
To learn more, please visit . The site includes more details on how to organize your own drive, valuable information about AML, plus FAQs on registering.

  5)  Join Team Sonia.
We are urgently looking for volunteers to help us in the following areas.  Please contact the individuals below ASAP if you can volunteer your time/services.

  Website Design –
Facebook Social Networking-
Volunteering at one of our Bone Marrow Drives –
Organizing Your Own Bone Marrow Drive-
General questions –

  Team Sonia will be hosting a conference call on Sunday, 12/19 at 5pm PST/8pm EST for all volunteers. 888-898-9214 – Conf Code 8189542195. Please dial in if you are interested in volunteering.

  My parents,Nilu and Ajit Rai, and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts for helping Sonia win her fight against leukemia – and for helping others who may face blood cancers today and in the future.  We cannot express in words what we are going through.  We kindly ask you to imagine that this is your daughter, your sister, your best friend. We are guessing you would move mountains to save her life.  Please help us save Sonia.

Thank you again,
Sumit Rai

*     *     *     *     *

FAQs on Bone Marrow Transplant

  What are the actual chances of finding a suitable marrow or stem cell donor, and how do I know if I’m a match?
The odds of finding a match vary, but the best case scenario for South Asians is 1 in 20,000. If you are found to be a possible match, you will be contacted by the National Registry or your local center. You will be presented with the option of proceeding to the next level of testing to become an actual donor and saving someone’s life. 

How is my marrow is collected?
It is actually quite simple – there are a lot of misconceptions here.  The most common procedure is peripheral blood stem cell collection and does not require any surgery.  It is similar to a blood donation.  You are given injections to support overproduction of marrow, which is then released into your circulating blood. The cells are collected by removing blood from your arm during a simple procedure that takes just a couple hours. Again, it is very similar to donating blood – isn’t it amazing that it’s that easy to save someone’s life?! 

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