The Hindu

Adversity brings out the best in her

Leukaemia patient’s mother spreads the word on stem cell donation in Bengaluru school


BENGALURU: In an agonising time as her seven-year-old son is undergoing treatment for cancer, a compassion­ate mother has come forward to raise awareness on Peripheral Blood Stem Cell (PBSC) donation to save the lives of others.

On Saturday morning, the annual Children’s Day Jamboree at Clarence High School in Richards Town here began with much fanfare, but laced with a social message that sprung from one of their own.

Classmates recall Rihaan Cherian as a bubbly boy, who can’t come to school anymore. His school days were cut short in August after he suffered a relapse of Acute Lymphoblas­tic Leukaemia and now awaits a bone marrow transplant.

A class II student, Rihaan’s doctors recently informed his mother Pavithra Cherian that her first son Nihaal was the matching donor for blood stem cell towards the transplant­ation. “His doctors also told me that blood stem cell donors are rare unlike other countries as there is a misconcept­ion that donation it is a painful process. Then I thought why not begin a PBSC donor drive and bring awareness,” said the mother on her initiative to touch other lives despite her son receiving a donor.

Heartening response

Ms. Pavithra along with few of her of friends were brainstorm­ing on how to go about it and finally hit upon the idea of taking the social message amidst Children’s Day celebratio­ns at Rihaan’s school.

“The carnival is a day filled with fun for children from kindergart­en to class XII. However, this time it is also a change to bring in awareness on blood stem cell donation that can save lives. We are happy that many have come forward to support the cause on our campus,” said Jerry George, principal of Clarence High School who earlier gave the green signal to Ms. Pavithra and friends.

According to H. Sudarshan Ballal, Medical Director, Manipal Hospitals, not many come forward for blood stem cell donation as there is a severe lack of awareness. “If there are large numbers of donors, patients mainly awaiting bone marrow transplant, will have the option of a perfect or a closely matching human leukocyte antigen unlike now where a closest match could be a blood relative or never found,” Dr. Ballal said.

Parents and teachers who attended the Jamboree came forward to donate as an enthusiast­ic Pavithra found time to patiently explained to them on the procedure. Her son is soon to undergo chemothera­py at a city hospital.

 ??  ?? Children along with their parents attend the briefing on stem cell donor drive, at Clarence School in Bengaluru on Saturday. —
Children along with their parents attend the briefing on stem cell donor drive, at Clarence School in Bengaluru on Saturday. —

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