While travelling in Thailand earlier last December, recent University of Bristol graduate Lara Casalotti found herself short of breath and with leg pain, after being urged to go to a local doctor she discovered it was far more serious. After returning home, Lara was diagnosed with acute Myeloid Leukaemia and urgently requires a stem cell donor.
However, Lara is ethnically Italian and Thai which makes the search for a matching bone-marrow donor far more challenging. This is because only 0.5% of people on the Anthony Nolan UK register are from East Asian backgrounds and 1.5% are from European backgrounds. A shocking reality, making everyone aware of this campaign wonder why so few people from ethnic minority groups are on the register.
This shortage is reflected worldwide and Anthony Nolan have attempted to address it with their recent ‘Because I’m Asian’ campaign, highlighting that currently only 6% of the UK could be a match for an Asian individual suffering from blood cancer.
The Match4Lara campaign is also encouraging and leading the way in the diversification of potential donors. Just four weeks after being diagnosed, Lara’s family were able to make an online presence making Lara’s story go viral with J.K Rowling and Stephen Fry amongst those who came together to urge people to sign up.
Yesterday, Match4Lara released the following image showing the dramatic rise of sign-ups since the campaign began. It shows the true power of social media and how Facebook has managed to create a collective community, all trying to help.
What does registering involve?
Registering to the Anthony Nolan register takes about ten minutes online and involves spitting in a spit-kit that the charity will send in the post. It’s easy and if you are lucky enough to potentially save a life by matching with someone, you will then be contacted for a blood transfusion which can take between four to five hours.
Whether you yourself are of an ethnic minority group or not, you could match with someone desperately in need.
Spread the word and sign up!