From Kochi, with love – Stem cell donor meets infant survivor after two years – The New Indian Express

By daniellenierenberg

Express News Service

KOCHI:How would a two-year-old child react when she meets her lifes saviour in real life? It is quite hard to imagine. Or from the other side, the reaction of the person who sees, after two years, the face of the infant he rescued from certain death.

At times, emotions just abound, beyond what words can express! Tears of joy rolled down Amir's face, when he first met two-year-old Vihaa Khanekar, to whom he had donated his blood stem cells in 2019, on Saturday.

The four-hour-long video call that Amir made to Vihaa and her family members late on Saturday made him make up his mind to fly to Pune soon to meet Vihaa. A Pune resident, Vihaa was diagnosed with Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia (JML), when she was barely four-and-a-half months' old. Bone marrow transplant was the only hope and her parents were devastated.

"When we first heard the news it was as if we were hit by a hailstorm. It was known that our daughters condition was a rare one and that it was difficult for her to get a transplant. Her father swooned and even her mother almost had a blackout. The whole family came together to support them," said Dnyaneshwar Khanekar, Vihaas grandfather.

Vihaa received the cells in September 2019. "She was diagnosed with the illness in March. It is Amir who saved her life. In 2018, Amir had registered with the DATRI-Blood Stem Donors Registry in Aluva. His blood stem cells were a match and Amir was happy to donate them,"said Aby Sam John, DATRI Kerala- Maharastra Regional head.

26-year-old Amir Suhail Hussain, a resident of Nedumbassery, is not only happy about saving a life, but he also urged like-minded people to come forward. "When I came to know about Vihaa, I had no hesitation. However, my kin, particularly my parents, were anxious, more so because they were ignorant about the whole process. After assurances from doctors, they came to terms with my decision," said Amir.

According to Vihaas parents, her condition is better, with no complications. The transplant took place at a private hospital in Pune. "Though Amir is not known to us, his generosity has overwhelmed us," said Sandeep Khanekar, Vihaa's father.

The Saviour and Survivor meet was held by DATRI as part of creating awareness among many about donating stem cells and saving lives. The meet was organised virtually. DATRI - Indias largest blood stem cell donor registry - has 4,61,627 donors registered. A total of 773 people have donated their blood stem cells.

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From Kochi, with love - Stem cell donor meets infant survivor after two years - The New Indian Express

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