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South Asian bone-marrow donors needed

January 13, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
There were 100 bone marrow drives in the past 14 days and 40 more are planned for the next two weeks. The family and friends of 24-year-old Sonia Rai are in a fast and furious fight to save her life. They're looking for the person who might be Sonia's marrow match, and they're hoping an Eyewitness News viewer will be the one.

The bone-marrow drive campaign to save Rai operates like a smooth machine. Volunteers wear "Cure Sonia" shirts. Word is spreading through Facebook, e-mail, Twitter and texting.

In the end, it's a simple plea.

Rai's family was by her side in Boston, where she works and is getting treatment for acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

Doctors say only a bone-marrow match can increase her chances of survival. The problem is that so far, nobody is a match. So the call is going out to the South Asian community.

Registering requires a simple cheek swab.

Of the 7.5 million people who are registered, only 2 percent are South Asian.

Donated marrow can be as simple as donating blood. But not everyone who registers answers the call.

The numbers are discouraging, but Sonia's family knows all it takes is one person.

Upcoming bone-marrow drives in Southern California:

Saturday, 1/15/2011, 5 p.m.-9 p.m.
Radha Raman Temple
1022 North Bradford Ave.
Placentia, CA 92870
(714) 854-7202

Saturday, 1/15/2011, 3 p.m.-8 p.m.
Bombay Fashions Dr.
San Diego

Sunday, 1/16 /2011, 4:30 p.m.?7:30 p.m.
Hare Krishna Temple
3764 Watseka Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90034
(310) 836-2676

Sunday, 1/16/2011, 10 a.m.- 2 p.m.
Orange County Jain Mandir
8032 Commonwealth Ave.
Buena Park, CA 90621

Sunday, 1/16/2011, 11:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
Bhindi Plaza
18508 Pioneer Blvd.
Artesia, CA 90701