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Mardi, 01 Novembre 2011 19:36

Amit Gupta's Quest: Life, Death and Social Media

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Amit Gupta's Quest: Life, Death and Social Media

Amit Gupta has until the end of November to find a life-saving bone marrow donor, and his friends are willing to pay. The campaign, called Amit Gupta Needs You, was started by Gupta himself and his social-media-savvy friends. Their plea for marrow has swept across the web via Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook, gathering hundreds of new potential marrow donors along the way.

Some news stories have said that Gupta, who has been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, has a 1 in 20,000 chance of finding a perfect match because he is of South Asian descent. While the odds aren’t quite so dire, according to the National Marrow Donor Program, only 1.8 percent of the marrow registry is South Asian.

Hundreds of people have entered the registry since the campaign began, meaning there are hundreds of new potential donors for anybody who might need a transplant

With these odds on the table, author and friend Seth Godinsaid on his blog that he would “gamify” the campaign by offering $10,000 to the first match to enter the registry and donate his or her marrow to Gupta. Michael Galpert, co-founder of Aviary, and Jakob Lodwick, co-founder of Vimeo, matched Godin’s pledge in an effort to improve Gupta’s odds.

The pot now stands at $30,000. And the clock is ticking.

The campaign is helping. Hundreds of people are getting tested at “swab parties” and benefits like Wanted: Brown Bones in New York. As Godin writes, all you have to do to get tested is “get a Q-tip, stick it in your cheek and mail it back.”

And everyone is rooting for Gupta, the 32-year-old founder of Photojojo. But his sympathetic plight has thrown new light on the difficult questions that have always been part of the triage of donated organs and other spare human parts: It’s illegal to offer money for a transplant, but is it unethical? As things stand, do the rich and powerful — and connected — have an unfair advantage?

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