I Lost My Wife To A Rare Disease. This Is How It Changed Me

Merlyn always believed in “sharing our blessings”. After she was diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia, she signed up as an organ donor and inspired me to enroll as well.

My wife Merlyn Joseph was a positive person. She would never sit and grieve when faced with trouble. She knew how to laugh when in pain. After she was diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia, we were initially shattered. It took us a while to even understand and accept what was going on. It was Merlyn’s strength that took us through.

“Why me?” was a question that was bothering her initially, but she transformed herself and started questioning “Why anyone?”

Even during her weekly treatments, she would bring cookies and chocolates for fellow patients. She started appreciating the beauty of tiny things. She was 32 when we lost her in 2016. Being the youngest patient in the hospital, everyone remembers her as a young lady with a beautiful smile.

Today I can proudly say that I am a registered organ donor, blood donor and stem cell donor.

Merlyn always believed in “sharing our blessings”.  After her diagnosis, she signed up as an organ donor and inspired me to enroll as well. She even donated her hair for children who suffered from cancer.

For almost four years, she received weekly blood/platelet transfusions. During one of her transfusions, when I was sitting by her side, she said, “Who are these folks donating blood and platelets for me every week? What is the need for them to share their blessings?”

She then asked me, “Why don’t you try donating blood so that someone like me, a receiver, would be made happy?” Ever since, I started donating blood and platelets every three months. I can proudly say that I am a registered organ donor, blood donor and stem cell donor. It’s all because of my super girl.

Merlyn even donated her hair for children who suffered from cancer.

If you are a registered stem cell donor, please don’t quit the registry. There are thousands of fighters like Merlyn who are still waiting for a donor. I can’t express how happy we were when we heard from the doctors that Merlyn found a stem cell donor. Unfortunately, there were other complications that did not support us.

Merlyn was a strong believer, a real fighter and a true inspiration. She is definitely the strongest girl I have ever seen in my life.

I made a promise to Merlyn… to take care of her. This is my way of keeping her alive through keeping her memories and name ringing. Merlyn loved life, and she wanted to do something big to give back to people. I don’t want that to stop only because this happened to her.

I wish for a day when every person – the way he or she has an Aadhar card or voter ID card  – has an organ donation card and a stem cell donation card.

I will continue to live her dreams. I will continue to share my blessings. You should too.

If you wish to consider sharing your blessings, please register yourself as a stem cell donor at Datri, a blood stem cell registry.

– John Navin is a native of Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu and is currently working in the United States. He conducts awareness drives on stem cell donation in Indian communities in the US and India.

– Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.


  1. Really sad and heart touching.. I feel very sad for you. But you have saved many one lifes.. Thanks for your inspiration even after your death Merlin.. will share this with my friends .

  2. she looks lovely with a beautiful smile .destiny had different plans for her.
    They say God picks the best flowers early for his garden .she must be already a beautiful flower there.
    Very inspiring to note that her husband is trying to help spread awareness regarding organ donations.best wishes .

  3. Hi Navin……very inspirational and thoughtful. I would like to spread awareness towards organ donation. Please contact me on my email nairsuja16@gmail.com. God bless and hope to heat from you soon…..Sujata.

  4. Yes , we need to appreciate and be thankful for all the good things that we have in our lives . And your experience has definitely inspired me to help mankind in any small way that I can . Thank u for evoking this desire within me

  5. Heartly moved by your story…
    I will donate blood now as i was very scared of all these…
    Thnks to you m your dear wife …

  6. Merlyn you have spread love in this world and have left. This love of yours will always be present and will be taking care of many patients. You will be an inspiration for many and thanks John for spreading her love towards humanity. Many people die everyday living their full life having any impact to the society but U Merlyn in such a small age taught us how to make this life beneficial for the humanity, not to die lonely but remain with everyone forever. Thanks John U r a blessed person to have Merlyn in your life.

  7. Rest her soul in peace and pray for you, John Navin- to keep her dreams thorugh for the rest of your life. GOD BLESS you and all others associated for the cause.

  8. Good work & real motivation for blessings.
    Keep up doing good things & may Lord bless you all the strength.

  9. May her soul rest in peace….john you are lovely person ….bravo….may god bless you ….

  10. Hi John,

    My heartfelt condolenses to you and your family. So nice to know about her.. She is really a strong and wonderful Lady! My best wishes for your efforts. Will register myself.

  11. We all have to learn from Merlyn to laugh when in pain too. That positive attitude to accept and say ” why anyone ‘ instead of “why Me”? touched me . Rest her soul in peace and pray for you, John Navin- to keep her dreams thorugh for the rest of your life. GOD BLESS you.

  12. May Merlyn and you inspire us all to do good for fellow human beings in whatever way we could!

  13. Hii,
    John really touched by the article, may god bless you to materialise your efforts. This is the most essential and primary responsibility of a person to become a donor and hopefully inspired by you I will try my best to make it a big success.

    Sanjay Baral

  14. The world is a slightly better place, thanks to Merlyn Joseph…a true inspiration to many of us. Keep walking, John Navin.

  15. I am inspired by your story Navin and I think I’m going to donate my organs to I’m sure I will find the number from Justdial! Jasvir

  16. i lost my mother to pancreatic cancer in 2016. now, i ask, what significance does this human life have? very tough mate. unfortunately, we are in the same boat.

  17. Hi JOHN
    Read your post , and touched my soul how your dear wife , Merlyn, dealt with her condition and has touched so many lives, even when she is no more amongst us. You have made her proud in every sense. After reading your article , I felt i also must do similar to what you are doing on organ donation, blood donation and stem cell. Do not know were to start. Would be glad to touch base with you to take it forward in my own social and professional connect , as first step. i can be reached at taposh.misra@gmail.com

  18. Thanks for sharing ur personal story, it’s inspiring to read, we will definitely do our bit towards the cause what u have talked about.

  19. Beautiful. We all live and go but only few live for ever and inspire others, like she did to you and others.

  20. Hi navin My heartfelt condolences to you. At the same time I cant stop admiring Ms. Merlyns concern for others which have transformed you into a donor. I was a blood donor till i was diagnosed with heart ailment and had to stop doing it. Though i tried at a couple of blood donation camps, i was turned away.
    After going thru the article, I am going to register at Datri provided my health condition is ok with them.

    My mail id is…vikyav@hotmail.com

  21. speechless… i wish may her soul rest in peace and give you all courage to bear the loss which is not recoverable…
    Also on the other side her positive attitude teaches us a lot towards life…


  22. Hats off to Merlyn for her positive thinking and proud of you John Navin. Keep continuing your good work, we will always support you

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