Dr Ron Jacob started working for the South Asian Marrow Association of Recruiters after his friend Bevin Varghese was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia in 2007. They organized several camps to
find a bone marrow donor for marrow/stem cell transplant,
Varughese died in 2008.
Dr Jacob, 35, medical director, SAMAR, had given his
name to the Be The Match Registry. Recently, he was told his
marrow matched someone who needed a transplant to live.
“It is extremely rare for someone who is so closely associated with the registry to come up as a match, but he viewed
it as a privilege and donated without any hesitation,” said
Moazzam A Khan, director of community outreach,
Dr Jacob, who was born in Queens, New York, and whose
parents immigrated from Kerala in the 1970s, wrote for Be
the Match’s newsletter about the experience of helping
another human being live and lead a normal life:
‘It was 3 am, and my family and I had just returned from
our New Year’s Eve Midnight Mass. Right before going to
bed, I checked my e-mail. That’s when I saw the message
identifying me as a potential match for a patient. I told my
wife Sarah and we were both in disbelief.’
‘Every single person associated with the Be The Match
Registry dreams of receiving the message that they are a
match… My good friend Bevin was diagnosed with ALL a
few years before… Unfortunately Bevin passed away in
2008, but I stayed with SAMAR as the secondary medical
director and then eventually the fulltime medical coordina-
tor and recruiter,’ Dr Jacob wrote.
Understandably, it was Bevin I thought of initially. Then
I thought of my two friends, Shaun and Anila, who had suf-
fered with similar illnesses. With the complete support of
my wife, there was absolutely no hesitation from my end
and within 5 minutes, I responded.’
‘I tried my best to contain my excitement, especially since
I knew exactly what the odds were of being able to donate.
I was thrilled that 2014 had begun in such a great way.’
How Ron Jacob saved a life
Arsh Shah Dilbagi and Mihir Garimella won awards at the Google Science Fair 2014,
held at the Fox Theater, Redwood
City, California, September 22.
Mihir, a student at Fox Chapel
Area High School in Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania, won in the 13-14 age
category. He worked on a project
called Flybot: Mimicking fruit fly
response patterns for threat evasion. He
developed flying robots that can be deployed
for rescue missions during natural disasters.
He says he aimed to create a simpler,
faster, and more practical method of threat
evasion inspired by the way fruit flies detect
and respond to threats.
He has designed a lightweight sensor module, modeled after the fruit fly’s rudimentary
visual system, and created algorithms to
model the trajectory of and escape from
approaching threats by mimicking fruit fly
Such flybots can be useful in situations like
looking for survivors in the rubble of collapsed buildings.
Arsh, 16, a student at DAV Public School,
Panipat, Haryana, India, the only finalist
from Asia, won the Voter’s Choice Award for
developing a device named Talk that allows
people to communicate with the help of
their breath. The device converts breath
into speech for people suffering from developmental disabilities like Locked-in
Syndrome, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis,
and even for those who can’t speak at all.
The device functions by using signals from a
person’s breath via Morse code and then
converting it into voice.
First introduced in 2011, the Google
Science Fair award is open for students
between 13 and 18 years of age across the
globe. It is an international online science
and technology competition sponsored by
Google, National Geographic, Lego, Virgin
Galactic and Scientific American.
The grand prize winner (won by three girls
from Ireland this year for their project called
Combating the global food crisis:
Diazotroph bacteria as a cereal crop growth
promoter) receives a $50,000 scholarship
from Google, a grant for their school, a 10-
day expedition on the Galapagos Islands, a
behind-the-scenes tour of the Virgin
Galactic Spaceport, a prize pack from Lego,
and one of three experiences offered by
Lego, NatGeo, and Google.
The age category winners enjoy experiences at Lego Education, National
Geographic or Google, $25,000 in scholarship and other perks.
Mihir win in Google
Mihir Garimella, second from left.
COURTES Y: GOOGLE SCIENCE FAIR
COURTES Y: GOOGLE SCIENCE FAIR
Arsh Shah Dilbagi, fifth from left, with other winners.
Dr Ron Jacob on donation day.
October 3, 2014