Woodford Green dentist called up 20 years later to save teenage boy’s life

Atul Gandecha

Atul Gandecha - Credit: Archant

A Woodford Green dentist may have helped to save the life of a teenage boy by donating his bone marrow... 20 years after he signed up to the register.

Dr Atul Gandecha, 48, also a magistrate, from Sands Way, Woodford Green, is calling on more Asian people to join. He signed up to the bone marrow register at a Hindu temple in Neasden.

And in January he was contacted by blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan to say he was a match to a teenage boy.

A bone marrow transplant is usually the last chance of survival for someone with blood cancer.

Dr Gandecha said: “I was really pleased that I could be a bone marrow donor for someone. At first, I was also slightly concerned as I didn’t know what the donation would involve.

“But the donation was fine,” Dr Gandecha said. “I was given injections for four days prior to the donation to stimulate stem cell production which gave me some muscle and bone pains. My blood was filtered two and half times in six hours.”

He had the procedure, known as peripheral blood stem cell collection which is similar to giving blood, last week.

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He said: “They told me I’d changed someone’s life. I hope that the transplant will be successful. It’s amazing to know that I have given someone the best chance possible.”

Dr Gandecha said he was pleased to be called and wants to encourage more Asian people to join the register who are under represented.

“I felt slightly lethargic after the donation but went back to work a few days later and am doing fine,” he added. “I strongly urge the members of the Asian community between the age of 16 and 30 to join the bone marrow register so that they can also change someone’s life.”

Gulshan Noorani, from Anthony Nolan, said: “White northern Europeans have a 90 per cent chance of finding a bone marrow donor. This falls to just 40 per cent for people from Asian backgrounds.”