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Leukemia patient helps raise awareness for racial disparity on the bone marrow registry

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When Amit Gupta was diagnosed with leukemia this September, he tried to hedge his bets on his social network. The founder of Photojojo  and Jelly received a massive outpouring of support from fans and celebrity friends after taking his struggle to Tumblr, but that hasn’t been enough to make up for the longstanding racial disparity on the bone marrow registry.

Since Gupta is South Asian, his chances of finding a bone marrow donor match were just 1 in 20,000. Gupta had until December 1 to find a match before entering chemo. Sadly, the deadline is up.

“There have been a lot of questions about what’s going on with Amit now that our deadline has passed,” Gupta’s friends wrote on Amit Gupta Needs You. “Amit will receive chemotherapy while his doctors work to identify and confirm a potential donor. We hope he’s able to have a transplant early next year.”

Even though things are up in the air for Gupta, that’s not to say his campaign hasn’t made a world of difference. His campaign has encouraged thousands of people of all ethnicities to become potential bone marrow donors, bringing awareness to today’s steep odds for minority leukemia patients.

Gupta’s plight has inspired an ongoing exhibit, Skewed Demographics, that sheds light on this racial health disparity. He also inspired Parks and Recreation actors Chris Pratt and Aziz Ansari to launch a Do Something campaign for college students, complete with pizza incentives.

Even though further sign-ups are unlikely to help Gupta’s case, he and his supporters encourage people of all ethnicities to continue arranging donation events.

“Although samples collected from here on out will probably not be a part of his search, Amit and everyone else who has been working so hard on this project encourage you to continue to spread the word about the cause,” they wrote. “Every person you add to the registry could be the match that saves a life.”