bone marrow transplant

North Texas Boy Meets Bone Marrow Donor

February 14 is not only Valentine's Day, but also National Donor Day, a day to increase awareness about organ donation and the lives that can be saved.

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On Friday, Feb. 14, a special North Texas boy got to meet the woman who saved his life.

In 2017, Akshaj Nagilla, of Frisco, was 5-years-old when doctors at Children's Health noticed his white blood cell count was extremely high and diagnosed him with chronic myeloid leukemia.

Nagilla needed a bone marrow transplant, but the likelihood of an Asian-Indian having a matched, available donor is only 41%.

It was by luck that a matching donor was found and only a few miles away.

Dr. Pransanthi Ganesa is an ocologist in Colleyville. She joined the Be The Match registry 20 years ago while in college at Texas A&M because she, "felt like it was the natural thing to do."

"When they told me I was a match, it was the last thing on my mind. It had been 20 years!" said Ganesa.

She said when she found out the recipient was the same age as her son, she didn't hesitate.

She documented on video the day of her bone marrow harvest, a 30-minute procedure that's done under general anesthesia.

"You're done in about 30 minutes. You come out of anesthesia. You go home. You get to take pain meds, if you want, and it's a good excuse to sit and watch TV and tell your kids not to bother for a couple of days!" said Ganesa.

Her gift helped Akshaj beat his cancer.

"He's been able to go back to school. He's been able to resume his life," said pediatric pediatric hematologist and oncologist Dr. Victor Aquino.

"Thank you for givng me this chance. I'm so glad I got to be your donor," Ganesha told Akshaj during their reunion.

Every three minutes, someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer like leukemia or lymphoma. For many patients, finding a bone marrow donor who is a match is their only chance for a cure.

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