It’s hard to believe that two years have gone by since Sameer left us. Why? It’s because his energy was so pervasive that it often feels like he’s still here. So many things that surround us serve as a reminder. A photo, a black BMW cruising down Hwy 280 (speeding of course), a visit to Stanford, or brunch at a sidewalk cafe in San Francisco on a Sunday morning.
But more often the reminders are those things that we cannot see. Like his entrepreneurial drive, which taught us to take more risks in life. Or his selflessness, which inspires us to give more of ourselves to others. And his passion for adventurous travel, loud music, and weeknight partying, which reminds us to live in the moment. Sameer taught us to always be our very best.
While his departure helped bring us in touch with the reality of life, it also created a large void. Yet it is in this very void where his spirit continues to manifest. Our peace comes from knowing that Sameer lives on in each one of us. And yet, this is only a small part of his great legacy.
Swami Vivekananda once said, “Never think there is anything impossible for the soul.” He might has well have inserted Sameer’s name into that statement. Here’s why.
The campaign to find a bone marrow donor for Sameer and Vinay resulted in over 24,000 new South Asian registrants in the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP). A few weeks ago we received some updated campaign statistics from the Asian American Donor Program and NMDP. They informed us of how many of those 24,000 registrants have been called upon and agreed to donate their marrow or peripheral blood stem cells to save the life of a patient in need. Any guess? The number is a whopping 266. This means that potentially hundreds of lives have been saved because of Sameer and Vinay. This is a true legacy.
Sameer is dearly missed by Reena, his parents, his brother, his extended family and all of his friends. But despite his absence it’s amazing how he continues to touch new lives. Let me share some examples with you.
Jennifer Aaker, a professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, never had the chance to meet Sameer. But she was so inspired by his story and the Team Sameer & Team Vinay campaigns that she decided to create a new course titled The Power of Social Technology. The class arms entrepreneurial students with social media tools that they can harness to cultivate social good in the world. And it has spurred a stream of research on happiness and the “ripple effect”, or the idea that small acts of goodness can create big change. And from all of this teach and research will soon come a book - The Dragonfly Effect - which will serve as inspiration for others on how to harness social media for positive change. This is all in addition to the already published Stanford case study. I’m sure Sameer would be gleaming if he could see all of this.
Ahh, but there’s more.
New campaigns to find matches for patients in need continue to emerge. There was Project Michelle, Team Alan, and there’s Help Connor. Here is a note we received from Jack Green, a friend of Alan Cohen, who was inspired by Sameer and Vinay:
At the end of October 2009, a colleague of mine, Alan Cohen, was diagnosed with acute erythroleukemia. The doctors told him that he needed to urgently find a bone marrow match to save his life. Within days I mobilized for the cause. Over two months, we coordinated drives in the US, Canada and Israel, registering 56,000 people. We raised $3 million to cover the registration fees, which amounted to $54 per person. Our efforts have already brought 40 matches and resulted in one transplant.
Sameer continues to create transformation and infuse energy into our world. No wonder that it feels like he’s still around - he is.