SAMAR (South Asian Marrow Association of Recruiters), a legacy recruitment group of the Be The Match national registry which helps donate blood marrow samples, recently honored donors at their Silver Jubilee celebration held on the auspicious day of Lohri, Makar Sankrant, Bihu and Pongal.
Those who attended the event included long-time supporter Anil Bansal, Freeholder Shanti Narra who chairs the Middlesex County’s Public Safety, some prominent members of the community, patients, donors and board members including the founders Rafiya and Moazzam Khan.
“An oasis of hope is how the patients and their families refer to SAMAR. It is not just an empty acronym but also a reservoir of dedicated activity to bring solace and comfort to patients diagnosed with leukemia and other fatal blood disorders,” said Khan. Attendees were invited to participate in an interactive session and brainstorm ideas for the year, where the key topic was awareness.
While many suggested spreading awareness through social media to develop strong partnerships with educational, cultural and business institutions, increasing registration of volunteers, others suggested having lunch and learning programs at universities and corporations.
The celebration concluded with all of the attendees agreeing to take measures that would enhance patient survival through awareness and keeping these meetings periodically for the betterment and progress of SAMAR, according to a press release.
SAMAR was started by Rafiya Peerbhoy Khan in 1992 and was initially meant to reach out to and register the severely underrepresented South Asian ethnic group.
SAMAR’s mission is to facilitate a process of education, tissue typing and donor registry enrollment as a means to ensure that no global citizen is ever denied a lifesaving blood stem cell/marrow transplant solely due to the lack of a genetically specific donor, according to their website.
“We serve patients who need a blood stem cell/marrow transplant for leukemia, lymphoma, fatal blood disorders, and other conditions requiring a cellular transplant for a cure. Our focus is all patients requiring blood stem cell/marrow transplants from all races and ethnicities,” it states on the website. In its 25 years, SAMAR (www.samarinfo.org) has registered over 100,000 volunteer marrow donors, served 400 patients and facilitated 250 transplants all over the world including India.