SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — An 11-year-old Houston boy is now living a normal, healthy life after a generous donation from a doctor right here in San Diego.
It was about a year ago when doctor Ketan Bakriwala was sitting with his wife, scrolling on social media, when something caught his attention. It was an ad for Be the Match, a registry that connects patients in need of bone marrow with donors willing to help.
After talking with his wife, he decided to sign up, submitting a cheek swab, and just weeks later, got a call. He was already someone’s match.
The local Sharp Rees-Stealy optometrist and father of two decided he’d follow through and donate for this stranger in need.
That stranger was 10-year-old Rushi. a boy from Houston, diagnosed with Beta-thalassemia major. For his entire life, Rushi relied on blood transfusions.
Dr. Bakriwala never knew what happened with his donation. For a year, be the match, keeps identities private. they’re shared only if the donor and recipient want to know. The doctor said, absolutely, and made a phone call.
"I said hey you don’t know me but I know that your son had a bone marrow transplant about a year ago and I want you to know that I was the one that made the donation," recalls Dr. Barkriwala.
The person on the other end was Rushi's mom.
The pair chatted for a while, as Dr. Bakriwala realized just how difficult Rushi's short life has been.
The families agreed to meet and even that was easy. Dr. Bakriwala has a scheduled conference in Houston, where the family lives.
The meeting was emotional for the two families now connected forever. Rushi is cured of his disorder, living a normal life as a now 11-year-old. He hasn’t needed another blood transfusion since.
Now Dr. Bakriwala hopes people realize how a simple procedure for a healthy adult could be a life-changer for some who are desperately waiting for their match.