+
Family

A stranger may help put an end to Sujith's cancer. It could even be you.

True
Facebook

Sujith Nayar didn't realize just how unique he was until his world came to a standstill on Nov. 1, 2015.

The 35-year-old from Brisbane, Queensland, in Australia was rushed to the emergency room with chest pains only to find out his heart was perfectly fine.

It was his blood that wasn't.



Images via the Hope4Sujith campaign, used with permission.

Many tests later, he was given an unwelcome diagnosis: acute lymphoblastic leukemia Philadelphia positive.

It's not easy to say that five times fast. And as it turns out, it's not easy to treat it, either. The disease is an uncommon strain of an already rare type of leukemia. It's so rare, it barely shows up in an internet search. (And that's when you know something is rare. The internet knows everything.)

Sujith began chemotherapy almost immediately after his diagnosis while trying to fully understand the disease and what was going on in his body. So far, he's gone through six successful rounds of chemo to slow the disease down. He reached remission, but there's a big reality he has to face.

"My treatment can only be complete once I receive a bone marrow transplant," Sujith wrote on his website, Hope4Sujith. "I need to find a bone marrow donor so that I can survive this disease and live a fuller and longer life."

Many people don't know how easy it is to become a donor – and potentially save someone's life.

Including Sujith's own family.

"So many people had never even heard of the marrow registry and had no idea what was involved in the transplant process," Sujith's sister, Lakshmi, told Upworthy. "Eight months ago, I hadn't either."

30% of patients who find themselves needing a transplant will have a matching donor within their families according to the Institute for Justice. But when no one in Sujith's family matched, he was forced to join the 70% of people who must hope a stranger will come to their rescue.

Sujith's family is working to make that happen through the websites we all use every day.


Sujith with his wife, Alloka.

His family launched an online campaign, Hope4Sujith, to help him find his match. It's quickly spreading around the world.

With family in Australia, the United States, and India, the Hope4Sujith campaign is raising awareness and educating people on the donation process through their Facebook page and website.

It's making a significant impact. They're breaking stigma, opening eyes, and growing a global community. Thanks, internet!

They're breaking the misconception that bone marrow donation is a scary and very difficult thing to do. It's not.

"The transplant process is a lot simpler than most people imagine," Lakshmi said. "People get scared when they hear the words 'bone marrow.' In fact, most registries have moved away from calling it that and call it marrow or stem cell donation."

Whatever you want to call it, the donation process isn't as intimidating as it's often made out to be. You can learn more about the full process here or take it from a past donor herself (who was nervous at first!).

Hope4Sujith has been holding donation clinics in three different countries and showing just how easy it is to join the donor registry either online or offline. And they're not kidding! It took me less than 10 minutes online, and now I feel like a better, more compassionate human.


Look, Ma! I did it!

You can register yourself online by going to this site. Or you can find a registering event near you, if real-life interactions are your thing.

Hope4Sujith's campaign is also helping to connect with the families of other patients who are searching for a donor match for a loved one.

"I am always conscious of the fact that it may not be our own effort, or one of our drives, that finds a match for my brother. It could be a drive conducted by the family of another patient in some other part of the world that finds the match for Sujith. But maybe our efforts or one of our drives will find a match for someone else too.

It is like we are paying it forward, or backward, or all around. When someone signs up to a registry anywhere in the world, they are agreeing to donate to anyone they may be a match for, whether they know them or not."

A donor registry event held in Texas. Image via Facebook, used with permission.

Part of their push for donors comes because of the difficulty many minorities face in finding a match.

Because tissue type is most likely to match someone of the same race and ethnicity, it is much harder for South Asians, Asians, Hispanics, and African-Americans to find a match because they are so underrepresented. Sujith's team has been extra strategic about reaching out to the South Asian community to help fill the gap.

"I truly believe we are all in this together," Lakshmi says. "This campaign has taught me, through the reach of the internet and Facebook, just how connected we all are. And how easily we can help each other."

She says that if her team can inspire people to take the simple action of joining the registry, they will have made a difference to someone's life and to those who love them.

Let's give them, and the 20,000 other people who await a transplant every year, the support and encouragement they need. If you're able, share this and sign up to be a donor. You never know who could be waiting for a match like you.

Finally, someone explains why we all need subtitles

It seems everyone needs subtitles nowadays in order to "hear" the television. This is something that has become more common over the past decade and it's caused people to question if their hearing is going bad or if perhaps actors have gotten lazy with enunciation.

So if you've been wondering if it's just you who needs subtitles in order to watch the latest marathon-worthy show, worry no more. Vox video producer Edward Vega interviewed dialogue editor Austin Olivia Kendrick to get to the bottom of why we can't seem to make out what the actors are saying anymore. It turns out it's technology's fault, and to get to how we got here, Vega and Kendrick took us back in time.

They first explained that way back when movies were first moving from silent film to spoken dialogue, actors had to enunciate and project loudly while speaking directly into a large microphone. If they spoke and moved like actors do today, it would sound almost as if someone were giving a drive-by soliloquy while circling the block. You'd only hear every other sentence or two.

Keep ReadingShow less
www.youtube.com

Man hailed 'Highway Hero' for running across four lanes of traffic

Holy cow, Bat Man! You're always supposed to be aware of other vehicles when you're driving but what do you do when you notice someone has lost consciousness while speeding down the highway?

It's a scenario that no one wants to see play out, but for Adolfo Molina, the scenario became reality and he didn't hesitate to spring into action. Molina was driving down the highway when he spotted a woman in a blue car who lost consciousness as her car careened down the shoulder of the highway. The concerned driver quickly pulled over in order to attempt to rescue the woman.

But there was a problem, he had to cross four lanes of traffic on the highway just to make it to the woman's still moving car. That obstacle didn't stop him. Molina sprinted across the highway, crossing right in front of a black pick up truck before running at full speed to attempt to open the woman's door and stop her car.

Keep ReadingShow less
Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

Keep ReadingShow less
Internet

Relationship expert tells people to never get married unless you're willing to do 3 things

"If you and your partner (both) are unable or unwilling to do these 3 things consistently forever, you won’t make it."

Relationship expert gives people advice on getting married.

Being in a relationship can be difficult at times. Learning someone else's quirks, boundaries, and deep views on the world can be eye-opening and hard. But usually, the happy chemicals released in our brain when we love someone can cause us to overlook things in order to keep the peace.

Jayson Gaddis, a relationship expert, took to Twitter to rip off people's rose-colored glasses and tell them to forego marriage. Honestly, with the divorce rate in this country being as high as it is, he probably could've stopped his tweet right there. Don't get married, the end. Many people would've probably related and not questioned the bold statement, but thankfully he followed up with three things you must be willing to do before going to the chapel.

Before going into his reasons for why he tells people not to get married, Gaddis explained that he is a person that "LOVEs being married." I mean, it would probably make him a pretty weird relationship expert if he hated relationships, so it's probably a good thing he enjoys being married. Surely his spouse appreciates his stance as well.

Keep ReadingShow less

Humanitarian Helen Keller circa 1920.

In a 1954 documentary short, humanitarian Helen Keller expressed that her greatest regret in life was being unable to speak clearly. But given that she could not see or hear, her speech was quite remarkable.

Keller was born in 1880 and, at the age of 18 months, contracted an unknown illness that left her deaf and blind. But with the help of her teacher, Anne Sullivan, she was able to overcome her disabilities and become an outspoken advocate for the voiceless and oppressed.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

10 years ago, a 'Stairway to Heaven' performance brought Led Zeppelin's surviving members to tears

Heart, John Bonham's son and a full choir came together for the epic tribute.

Led Zeppelin got to see their iconic hit performed for them.

When Billboard and Rolling Stone pull together their "Best Songs of All Time" lists, there are some tunes you know for sure will be included. Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" is most definitely one of them.

It has everything—the beauty of a ballad, the grunginess of a rock song, the simple solo voice, and the band in full force. "Stairway to Heaven" takes us on a musical journey, and even people who aren't necessarily giant Led Zeppelin or classic rock fans can't help but nod or sing along to it.

Of course, it's also been so ubiquitous (or overplayed, as some would claim) to become a meme among musicians. Signs saying "No Stairway to Heaven" in guitar stores point to how sick of the song many guitarists get, and when Oregon radio station KBOO told listeners they would never play the song again if someone pledged $10,000, Led Zepelin singer Robert Plant himself called in and gave the donation.

Keep ReadingShow less