My Stem Cell Donation Journey: A Gift of Hope

Stem cell donor portrait of NJ wedding photographer Ishan

Not everything in life has to be transactional. In this selfish world of takers, be the giver.

It isn’t that hard. Change comes from within you. 

About nine years ago, I signed up for Be The Match.

I forgot about it. Life moved on. 

Here are some fundamental rules I abide by in life, profoundly instilled by my parents & further solidified by my partner & the incredible network of friends I surround myself with:

Do good. Be selfless with your time & energy. Help someone in need whenever you can. 

I was astonished how many people were surprised that I was doing this for a stranger & not for a family member. 

On August 25, 2023, I was basking in one of the best times of my life, riding motorcycles and exploring the incredible landscapes of Portland, Oregon, when my phone rang, “Hello, this is Be The Match…

At that moment, I knew that this was my calling. I could change someone’s life—it changed mine.

Here’s a fitting quote from one of my favorite movies, Dune: Part One:

“A good man doesn’t seek to lead. He’s called to it & he answers.”

I know it’s a little dramatic, but it sounds so good, doesn’t it?

Initially, I was in disbelief. Could I be someone’s match?  After answering questions and doing a blood test, everything aligned. I was a match. 

As someone of Indian descent, I knew the odds. Patients of Asian heritage have only a 47% chance of finding a compatible donor. 

Those are rookie numbers. Let’s pump those numbers up!

It was a simple decision to say “yes” and a humbling honor to do this for someone I’ve never met.

Stem Cell Donation: Easier Than You Think

The entire donation process was smooth. Carla Mogren my contact at Be The Match provided support every step of the way & made the process so seamless. 

I cannot thank the doctors and nurses enough at Hackensack Cancer Research Center in Hackensack, NJ. It takes an entire village of professionals to make this happen. Their patience, kindness, and support helped me through it. 

I’m a Biotechnology major, but the donation process was straightforward, even with limited medical knowledge.

Imagine if the person needing my cells was someone you loved. It breaks my heart to know so many people wait for a match that might never come. 

If you’re healthy between 18 and 40 and live in the US, consider joining the Be The Match registry. It could be the greatest gift you could ever give to someone.

To find out if you can join the registry, please visit Be The Match.

Your Impact Could be Immeasurable

Donating stem cells is a simple way to make a profound difference.  It doesn’t have to interrupt your life. I run a busy wedding photography business, and they worked with my schedule. 

It was one of the most meaningful experiences of my life, and I’m forever thankful for the opportunity to give the gift of hope.

I am an open book; if you’ve read this far & want to know more, feel free to reach out:


Sign up for Be The Match Today!

Some other interesting facts: 

  • The primary collection process took about 4 hours. 
  • Newer technology will allow doctors to use the cells even if they’re not a perfect match. 
  • I was the 99th donor whom Carla, my lead at Be The Match, got across the line. She’s so awesome. #angelnumber #littlestitious #iykyk

Thanks for coming to my TED Talk. 🙂


Storytellers of love


Ishan is innovative, quick-paced & tech-savvy. Preeti is artistic with a formal education in both photography & design.

Together, we use our individual yet complementary skills & styles to create timeless photos ​​​​​​​you'll cherish for a lifetime.

Combining our strategic vision with artistic eye, we create a unique experience that reflects your personal story & meaningful photos.