Lara Casalotti, the 24-year-old leukemia victim, sparked one of the biggest ever global campaigns fro her search of a stem cell donor.
The campaign to find a suitable donor, called Match4Lara, quickly went viral. Many celebrities including actor Mark Wahlberg, footballer Gareth Bale and Pink Floyd's Nick Mason, JK Rowling, Stephen Fry, fashion photographer Mario Testino, and even the Prime Minister supported for it.
‘Only three percent of the worldwide stem cell registers are mixed race, making it difficult to find donors.’
AdvertisementOnly three percent of the worldwide stem cell registers are mixed race, and an even smaller fraction of this have a similar ethnic background to her.
After the appeal was launched a month ago, blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan said it received 15,600 new sign-ups and an almost seven-fold increase in black, Asian, ethnic minority or mixed-race (BAME) donors. Casalotti has now found a match and if all goes to plan, stem cell donation will happen in March.
"These past months have been a whirlwind but I am so thankful a donor with a genetic match has now been found," said Casalotti, who lives in Belsize Park, north London. "Thanks to everyone's immense support, I have always stayed hopeful that I would find one, but I realize how lucky I have been, given how difficult it was to find that donor. I want to keep urge people to sign up to the donor registries so that everyone can have a chance of finding their match. Let's find a Match4All."
After finding out that her only brother Seb was not a match, her family launched a global appeal to find her a donor, as well as encouraging more mixed-race people to sign up to the registry.