Friends of a Northern Nevada man with myelofibrosis are organizing “test drives” to find a potential match for his bone marrow. Vinodkumar Challagundla is a 35-year-old father of two, and his friends say his chance of survival depends on a bone marrow transplant.
The first two events will be held this weekend. In Reno, the drive will be at the Reno Hindu Temple at 385 Gentry Way Saturday, March 13, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Carson City event will be in the Carson Catalina Apartments Recreation Hall at 700 Hot Springs Road Sunday, March 14, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Potential donors will provide a saliva sample obtained with a swab; no blood will be drawn. Donors must be between the ages of 18 and 60 and never have had hepatitis, heart disease, cancer or AIDS. The drives are being conducted by Be the Match (formerly the National Marrow Donor Program).
If your sample is a close match for someone waiting for a bone marrow transplant, you will be able to decide whether to proceed. If you decide to donate, less than 5 percent of your bone marrow will be removed with a needle while you are under general anesthesia at no cost to you. Further information about transplants is available at the Be the Match site.