Dayton group presents Health Fair and Fitness Expo, marrow donor drive

Centerville High School Student, Shravan Kalahasthy helps to register bone marrow donors at Wright State University s April Craze in 2017. Kalahasthy will be heading efforts to register donors at the AAC Dayton Health and Fitness Expo on April 14.

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Centerville High School Student, Shravan Kalahasthy helps to register bone marrow donors at Wright State University s April Craze in 2017. Kalahasthy will be heading efforts to register donors at the AAC Dayton Health and Fitness Expo on April 14.

KETTERING – The Asian American Council Dayton will present a Health Fair and Fitness Expo at the Christ United Methodist Church, 3440 Shroyer Road, Kettering.

The event is Saturday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

AAC Dayton Chair Dr. Ron Katsuyama said the event will offer free health screenings and educational opportunities as well as many fun and interesting health and fitness focused exhibits. However, he said the major focus of the event is to inspire people of Asian descent to register to become bone marrow donors.

Health and Fitness Expo Chair Dr. Jhansi Koduri, a practicing hematology oncologist with Dayton Physicians Network, said that bone marrow is critical in the treatment of blood cancers such as leukemia and that the chances of finding a donor among certain ethnic groups is as low as 5 percent. She said she has noticed a definite deficit among Asian donors.

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“Usually the matching donor will share the same ethnic background as expected, as they will have similar gene profile,” said Koduri.

She said that she started holding bone marrow donor drives in the Dayton area in 2009, educating the general public of the need to be on the NMDP (National Marrow Donor Program) registry. However, it was her son, Centerville High School student Shravan Kalahasthy, who encouraged AAC Dayton to get involved and will be spearheading the bone marrow donation registration portion of AAC Dayton’s Health and Fitness Expo.

Following his mother’s lead, Kalahasthy has been conducting marrow donor drives for about 3 years now and says he has set a goal of registering 1,000 new donors by the end of the year. He says he already up to 500 registrations.

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AAC Dayton member Don Hayashi says that he has witnessed firsthand how becoming a donor can make a difference.

“The information I was given about the National Bone Marrow Donor Program stated that in all probability I would not be called, because the chances of a match are approximately one out of 200,000 persons. That is why they need so many in the registry.”

Nonetheless, he said it gave him great satisfaction to know that he had done something which one day might help save someone’s life.

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A few years later Hayashi found out that he was a match for a man with chronic leukemia and was called on to donate. He said that the procedure took a little over an hour and involved an overnight stay in the hospital.

“I experienced some minor soreness as if I had worked hard in the yard but no other ill-effects,” said Hayashi.

He said he following week the marrow donor representative phoned to tell him that she delivered the bone marrow to the recipient and met briefly with him. He was Korean-speaking and communicated his gratitude to Hayashi through a translator.

In addition to marrow donor registration, expo participants can take part in free cooking demonstrations, blood sugar and blood pressure screenings as well as sleep disorder, depression, and anxiety screenings, talks on workplace and school bullying, sleep medicine, drug addiction and recovery, depression, domestic violence, aging in America and much more.

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In addition, the expo will be holding continuous participatory fitness sessions such as yoga, all day free guided meditation by highly trained instructors, Bollywood, Zumba, and Bhangra-Fit, Thai Chi, and a dance-a-thon.

To see a full schedule of event activities or to learn more about AAC Dayton you can go online at http://aacdayton.org/. For more information about the National Marrow Donor Program visit https://bethematch.org/.

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