Stanford professor given 7 weeks to find marrow match

April 18, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Seven weeks -- that's it. That's how much time a Stanford professor has to find a bone marrow match to fight an aggressive form of leukemia. Finding a match has been especially tough in this case.

"I've been through five hospitalizations and two rounds of chemo and lots of complications," said Nalini Ambady of Palo Alto.

Time is ticking for Nalini. She's accomplished a lot since she emigrated from India. She has two daughters, she's a professor of psychology at Stanford, but now she has leukemia. Nalini has just seven weeks to find a bone marrow match, after that she'll be too weak for a transplant.

"The cancer will be so aggressive then, that there's not much chance of curing it," said her daughter Maya Ambady.

The search for Nalini's donor started in November, when her leukemia relapsed. Her students sprung into action.

"We are in Silicon Valley so of course we are going to use technology however you can," said Nalini's student Taylor Phillips.

They quickly created a Facebook page, a website, and organized donor drives all over the world. South East Asians are one of the smallest groups to donate bone marrow.

"Someone that's from an Asian descent has one in over 20,000 people finding a match," said Nitu Binnarh from the Asian American Donor Program.

On Thursday night at Shirdi Sai Darbar temple, people swabbed and joined the donor list. And because of the Nalini Online Network, for the first time, bone marrow drives like this are taking place in Kerala, India on Thursday and Friday.

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