Solihull student, Ulrika Dandekar, known as 'Riya' to her friends and family, died at the tender age of 21 early in the morning last week. The brave young woman spent her last days campaigning and raising awareness for stem cell donors in a bid to save others' lives.
Riya was making calls from her hospital bed to get the donors on board, and earlier this year she inspired a huge increase in the number of Asian people joining the Anthony Nolan charity’s bone marrow register. Her mother Dr Ursula Bahalkar made a commemorative statement about her “beautiful butterfly” saying “Her legacy, we hope, will have been to raise awareness of how simple, quick and painless it is to register online and potentially save a life.” Speaking with great affection about her child she went on to say “Riya was only 21 but was an extraordinary young woman (…) she taught us so much about living, about being brave, kind and strong (…) she never complained or wallowed in self-pity – we found that incredible.” The radiant crusader passed away at the Marie Curie Hospice with her loved ones at her bedside: “People are saying how sorry they are” added Ursula “but we are saying don’t be sorry, she’s not in pain anymore, she is at peace. The main thing is we were able to say our goodbyes to her.”