Lara Casalotti, a Geography masters student at the University College London, is appealing for suitable donors after struggling to find a stem call transplant match.
Having previously studied in Bristol, Lara has been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia and urgently requires a bone marrow transplant. Due to her ethnic background, she is struggling to find a suitable donor; an ideal candidate can be found for 60% of patients, but that number falls to 20% if the patient is mixed race.
Lara’s unusual genetic background, which includes a Thai mother and Italian father, means that the availability of genetic matches is reduced severely. Her family have set up an on-line campaign to spread the word and encourage new people to join their local donor registry. The movement, which is called Match4Lara, has triggered a response from student group Marrow, who have launched a ‘Tackling Inequalities’ campaign in an effort to increase donations from a variety of ethnic backgrounds.
“Registering as a potentially lifesaving donor is quick and easy: simply fill in a short form and provide a saliva sample using one of our ‘spit kits’,” explained Andrew Wicks, President of Southampton Marrow.
“The process isn’t painful, and generally people just feel a bit tired or flu-like for day or two, a very small price to pay for the amazing effect it could have for somebody”.
You can sign up for the national registry at the group’s recruitment drive at SUSU on Tuesday 2nd February.