I am a 2005 graduate of UF and a proud Gator. As a former member of the Student Senate, a former officer of the Indian Students Association, an honors ambassador and a member of Savant UF, I recall organizing and participating in many activities on and off campus to raise awareness of issues we believed needed attention.
Today, I’m pleased to see how UF student organizations continue to contribute to solve issues of importance.
Specifically, I’m referring to the exceptional commitment of the UF ISA Organization to solve an issue, which I believe deserves public recognition. They pledged to increase the number of potential bone marrow donors of Indian descent. This mission has personal significance for me because my uncle, Himanshu, was recently diagnosed with a condition that requires a bone marrow transplant.
Among the approximately 3.1 million people of Indian descent living in the U.S., his potential donor would have to be between the ages of 18 and 44, in good health and be compatible with his marrow type.
Unfortunately, the discouragingly low numbers of South Asians registered as potential donors limit the probability of finding a donor.
The admirable efforts of Riffat Bhimani and Neha Swaroop, president and external affairs vice president of ISA, along with Mauricio Murillo of the Icla da Silva Foundation, led to a donor drive to coincide with the first ISA general body meeting of the fall term.
Their efforts and leadership resulted in registering more than 75 donors! This is one of the most successful donation drives sponsored on behalf of my uncle, and my family couldn’t be more grateful and honored by not only the students’ willingness to help organize the event, but also by their eagerness to register with the national database to solve a specific issue that touches so many families. It is truly a humbling feeling.
While I haven’t been able to come back to Gainesville as often as I would like, I’m pleased to see that our students remain exceptional.
This letter to the editor ran on page 7 on 9/17/2013 under the headline "Special thanks to UF’s Indian Students Association"