Still a challenge to find bone marrow donors in Singapore
His ordeal started in 2006, when he had rashes and night sweats.
Mr Prashant Kulkarni, 43, who is from India but was working in London, had these symptoms for over a year, but he brushed it off, thinking it was an allergic reaction.
It was not until he found it difficult to breathe that he got a full body check-up and found out he had Stage 4B Hodgkin's lymphoma, an advanced stage of a blood cancer, along with a 15cm tumour in his chest.
Patients such as Mr Prashant, who came to Singapore in 2013 and is an assistant director of food and beverage at Fairmont Singapore and Swissotel The Stamford, will have only a 4 per cent chance of finding a donor in the local registry, according to the Bone Marrow Donor Programme (BMDP) in Singapore.
According to BMDP's study published last year, only 42 per cent of Chinese and 24 per cent of Malays have a potential match in the local donor registry, and this number falls to 4 per cent for Indians, who make up less than 10 per cent of BMDP's national registry.
Despite the rise of donors in recent years, from 62,000 in 2016 to 100,000 this year, it is still a challenge to find a donor.
One of the biggest reasons people do not come forward to donate is due to the misconceptions they have about donation.
Said BMDP chief executive Charles Loh: "Many people think the bone marrow transplant involves the spine when the bone marrow is taken from the pelvic bone and will be done under general anaesthesia."
Mr Prashant waited about six months before he found his donor. After he was given the all-clear in 2008, he flew home in 2009 to his home in Pune, in India, to celebrate his recovery with his family and friends.
But on the last week back home, Mr Prashant woke up to find himself drenched in sweat and the same itch returned.
The cancer was back, and it had spread to his whole body.
Mr Prashant flew back to London to undergo chemotherapy and was on the drip for five days a week for three months.
He said: "I was battered in body and in spirit, and being injected with drugs every day."
He then got a call from his doctor that there would be a donor for him, but it fell through a week before the transplant could take place. Thankfully, he found another donor in 2010 and is now in complete remission.
"If not for that tiny vial of bone marrow from the kind soul, I would have just been a memory, a picture on the wall," he said.