'Inspirational' Belsize Park cancer patient, 24, sparks huge surge in bone marrow registrations
PUBLISHED: 07:00 13 January 2016 | UPDATED: 16:16 13 January 2016
A leading charity has said the number of online bone marrow registrations has surged by more than 400 per cent because of an “inspirational” Belsize Park woman.
Blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan is urging the public to support Lara Casalotti’s appeal for people from mixed race and ethnic minority backgrounds to sign up to the stem cell donor registry.
The 24-year-old is undergoing chemotherapy at University College Hospital after being diagnosed with leukaemia while volunteering with refugees in Thailand last month.
She is of Chinese-Thai and Italian descent, and desperately needs a suitable donor.
Ann O’Leary, head of register development, said: “Lara is a truly inspirational and selfless young woman, and somewhere out there, there’s a potential lifesaver who could give her a lifeline by donating their stem cells.”
Over the past week, online bone marrow registrations have rocketed by 430 per cent, from 680 to 3,700 compared with this time last year.
More than half of those signing up online are from ethnic minority backgrounds – the largest proportion the charity has ever seen.
Ms O’Leary added: “Thousands of people have pledged to save a life thanks to Match4Lara, and the impact of Lara’s appeal on Anthony Nolan has been unprecedented.
“By growing and diversifying the register, Lara and her wonderful family are changing lives all over the world.
“But the need for more donors is ongoing and the search is still on for a match for Lara.”
Doctors have said that Ms Casalotti’s best chance of a match is with an Asian-European donor, but only three per cent of those on the worldwide stem cell registry are of mixed race.
Her family is now calling for more people spread the message and join the Anthony Nolan register.
You can save a life and become a potential bone marrow donor by joining the Anthony Nolan Trust register at anthonynolan.org if you are healthy and aged 16 -30, or the British Bone Marrow Registry at nhsbt.nhs.uk if you are aged 18-49.