Vinay's Birthday & Video Collage

Dear Friends,

September 5th would have been Vinay's 30th birthday. He planned to spend his special day with family and friends. Vinay was the eternal optimist, always striving to assist others, often foregoing his own struggles. Vinay's wish was to see that all those needing a bone marrow transplant would have the opportunity to have one. He most desperately hoped that no one had to go through the grueling process of having to find a donor. Unfortunately there are hundreds of people who struggle with this predicament daily. Vinay and his family urge you to continue to strive to make this world a better place and to donate your time to your community and to your world. Take the time to volunteer at a bone marrow drive, donate blood and encourage your friends and family to register at your local stem-cell center.

In honor of Vinay's memory we are celebrating his life this upcoming weekend at the Central Park/Lake Elizabeth, in Fremont California, the place where Vinay grew up. We invite all of those involved with Team Vinay to come visit us and enjoy his memory, with food, recreation and friends from 11am-4pm on Saturday September 6th. We know that it may not be feasible for many of you to share the day with us in person, so we urge you to take a moment to remember him that day and to remember what he stood for and to continue your own personal momentum to better yourself and those around you. Many others have enquired about donating their time and money to a worthy effort in India. We urge those generous individuals to lend your support to Jeevan Blood Bank (www.jeevan.org).

Vinay, I miss you every second of everyday. I never thought the day would come when I would not have you at my side and a terrible void exists in my heart. But I know that your spirit is watching over me, hoping that I would do more for those less fortunate than me. When I think of you I think of Abraham Lincoln's words, "And in the end it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." With this I will honor your life until the welcomed day I meet you again.

Your Brother, Bharath

Help Michelle

Hello Friends,

It has been just 6 weeks since we lost Vinay. There are no words to describe what we are feeling. But there is one thing we wanted to tell you. Our family is close to a young couple who you may have heard of: Michelle and Van. Michelle is another young Bay Area woman with leukemia (AML) who is urgently searching for a match. We know that Vinay was committed to helping her, and we are also dedicated to helping her with her search. It is what Vinay would have wanted. We ask you to help us spread the word to register, and in Vinay's memory please attend one of the drives listed on the right side of this page. Help us to help Michelle.

With much love
Bharath & Sonia, Hema and Partha Chakravarthy


From Vinay's Best Friends

Vinay

Vinay was the light of our lives. The gaping void we now feel reflects the intensity with which he shined, and the singular place he will forever occupy in our hearts. We don't know what we are going to do without him. We promise to now take with us, as best we can, the light he carried within him that touched each of us so deeply. We honor him by passing this light on to the people we meet in the journey of our own lives.

In these last months, Vinay wondered how people's lives had changed because of this experience. We didn't know what to tell him. We ask you, here in this space, to share with Vinay, Rashmi and each other, how your life has changed, and what will be different for you and your interactions with humanity.

Much love, brother.

June 25th, 2008

Dear Friends and Family:

As most of you know by now, Vinay left us this morning a little after 7 AM . He left after a strong fight with leukemia and an absorbent amount of pain from treatment, infections, etc. His last few hours were spent with Rashmi, family and best friends. It was clear, even in his last few months, that his beautiful persona and charming wit was felt by many including hospital security, nurses, PAs, Doctors and the custodial staff. The outpouring of hospital employees was tremendous.

His last rites will be performed on Friday morning by a local priest, details regarding the ceremony can be found above.

Some of you have enquired if you could do something in Vinay's memory. We request that you do not send flowers or other gifts. If you would like to make a donation in Vinay's memory, we would suggest that you donate to the National Donor Marrow Program.

Feel free to also donate in Vinay's name.

Vinay's commitment to finding other South Indian's a match has been made evident to the work that him and the group, helpvinay.org have done thus far for the South Asian Community.

Update from Vinay - May 12, 2008

Hello everyone!

Once again sorry about the delay in updating all of you especially after the PBS documentary. Well as most my already know since my relapse in January 2008 after BMT, I received a dose of mylotarg which placed me in remission. Since then I have been battling graft versus host disease and multiple complications that have placed me in the ICU three times now. The first time for acute kidney and liver failure and the second, third time for excessive blood loss from the gut. I was successfully treated for all ICU visits, the last stay I required an interventional radiology procedure to stop the internal bleeding. After the procedure I was transferred back to the regular floor and my diet was slowly advanced to normal! I am doing well so far and will be transferring to a physical rehab center here in Boston to get my overall strength back. I hope to be home for good in 2-3 weeks! The rehab facility will provide 3 hours of physical therapy seven days a week, quite intense but should be better for me in the long run.

While I was in the ICU a lot has happened in our community, I want to send my love to Sameer and his family. Please if you need anything let us know, let the community know, we will always be there for you. Also there is a recent article in the Hindu written about Team Sameer and Team Vinay,

http://www.hindu.com/mag/2008/05/11/stories/2008051150080400.htm

If there are any questions correspond thru www.helpvinay.org or www.helpsameer.org

Also HAPPY BELATED MOTHERS DAY!!!
WISH ALL OF YOU LOVE!
-Vinay

PBS Documentary on Vinay

Vinay is profiled in an upcoming documentary that will air on PBS on April 16th.

The Truth About Cancer will feature three stories of Boston-based Cancer patients, their struggle, challenges and navigating the healthcare system to try and obtain the best type of care. The Dana Farber Cancer Center and their vast amount of resources is also featured.

Details on the program can be found here

Update From A Close Friend

At this point – I’m sure that most of you are aware Vinay’s leukemia came back about three weeks ago. He enjoyed close to three months at home with Rashmi, close friends and family and was thankful for every minute of it. Shortly after the new year however, Vinay went to a regularly scheduled doctor’s appointment.

After the initial shock and disappointment, Vinay and his family resolved to fight this disease with everything they have. A week after learning of the relapse, they started a different treatment, similar to chemo, called Mylotarg. It was a rough couple of weeks and Vinay went from having a fair amount of energy to being pretty tired and feeling very weak. Although the mylotarg should have been an outpatient treatment, but due to some issues with his liver and spleen, they kept him in the hospital for about ten days. He spiked a temperature on a few of the nights – but all in all, things were okay and Vinay was able to go home and spend his time recovering in comfortable surroundings.

The last two doctor’s appointments have been very positive – no leukemic cells (blasts) and everything else has also looked good. Rashmi and Vinay are hanging in there – and waiting to hear what the exact treatment will be. It seems as though he will have a donor lymphocyte infusion (DLI) or another transplant.

He’s happy to be home and spent the weekend anticipating the Superbowl. Although Rashmi was quite upset that the Patriots lost, Vinay, with his distaste for Boston Sports, was rejoicing inside for the Giants. In fact, so was Vinay’s mom, who turned out to be quite a closet Giants fan!!

Only time will tell what comes next – but we just wanted to update everyone who have been so great in supporting them for the last year. It’s been a rocky road, but we are, as always, waiting for that light at the end of the tunnel. So please continue praying, hoping and believing with us on the next part of this journey. We appreciate all your messages, your calls, and your support. Keep at it – we still need all of you to fight this with us!

Update from Vinay - March 3, 2008

I returned to the hospital on 2/7/08 for readmission due to fevers and chills. I developed graft versus host disease in my gut. It is a little uncomfortable but manageable. My doctors placed me on steroids and an immunosuppressor to control the GVHD. This seems to be the only thing keeping me in the hospital. Once we get control of the GVHD then I will able to go home. So far my blood counts are doing well, and all of us are taking one day at a time. My medical team has not come up with a definitive plan after I get discharged but there are options. This weekend I am on what is called bowel rest, no food by mouth….nothing by mouth to be exact. I do not know if I can do it because I am always hungry, but this is thought to relieve my gut so that I can start eating solid foods. I have been on a clear liquid diet for 2 weeks now, not fun.

Once again thanks for all the love and prayers. Lots of love to all of you.

Tis the Season for Giving

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you. I hope this new year brings heath and happiness to each and every one of you. A special holiday wish to my donor and his family. This is the season of giving and we have lots to do still. I know there are drives going on out there, but we need to do a better job spreading the word about these upcoming drives. Post the information on the Team Vinay or Team Sameer websites. Please do not stop this movement, we have done so well thus far but lets not stop. We have to BELIEVE as a community that we can make a difference, take responsibility by acting and not just by talking about it. We need to get the young generation involved, so all of you college and graduate students out there continue spreading knowledge about this cause because we are the future, lets take control of it. On the Team Vinay website we placed a short clip, that clip can be used by all and placed on Friendster, Facebook, MySpace or whatever internet avenue you can think of to increase awareness and involvement.

Like Sameer stated in his blog there are so many out there that are praying for their respective donors to come forward to save their lives (Bevin, Savitha, Dhiren, and so many more as the days go on) so lets give them a great holiday present. The holidays are a great time to spend with family, what better way to have some quality family time than starting or attending a drive in your respective areas. We cannot stop nor should we stop. I know 2007 was a great year amongst our community, but lets make 2008 even better. Let us unite as a community, as one, and help one another because in fact we are all brothers and sisters.

As for me, I am past day 100 and things are going well. My counts seem to be stable so far. At day 100 my doctor did a chimerism test, which tests for the percentage of donor cells versus my own cells in my blood…and the results came back as 100% donor cells! This is exactly what my doctor wanted to see which made Rashmi and I very happy. My energy is slowly coming back but I cannot seem to gain any weight. The weather here has made it difficult to go out and exercise but I have been lifting some weights at home. A lot of my free time is spent reading, I just finished The Kite Runner and have started on A Thousand Splendid Suns. I play the Wii once in a while, and trust me I still dominate with one eye, but after January 28th I should have two good eyes so watch out!

Before I finish this blog I would like to send my love and support to Sameer and his family. I know this is a tough time but Sameer if there is anyone that can get through this, it’s you. Throughout our ordeal I have looked to you for your optimism and faith, do not ever lose that. We are all here for you and your family, whatever you need do not hesitate to ask. So keep your head up my brother because this too shall pass. We all love you and will stand by your side.

With lots of love,

Vinay