London

'Spit drive' hopes to find donor for mixed-race leukaemia sufferer

  • 23 January 2016
  • From the section London
Lara Casalotti Image copyright Match4Lara
Image caption Lara Casalotti requires a mixed race donor for a life saving operation

The family of a student who has been diagnosed with leukaemia is holding a "spit drive" to try to find a stem cell donor from an ethnic minority.

Lara Casalotti, from Hampstead, is of Thai and Italian heritage and requires a donor from a mixed race person for a stem cell transplant.

Volunteers are asked to go to the O2 Centre on Finchley Road on Saturday to join the bone marrow register.

Her family said a donor was required "urgently... to save her life".

Global attention

The 24-year-old was diagnosed with blood cancer in December.

Currently only 3% of donors on the register are from a mixed race background.

Writing on Facebook, Lara's family said her "unique heritage" meant "her donor is most likely to come from an Asian/mixed-race background".

Image copyright Match4Lara
Image caption The 24-year-old student was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia in December

"For Lara, and the majority of people who need stem cell transplants, it is a total stranger who provides them hope," they wrote.

People who attend the "spit drive" on Saturday afternoon will have to fill out a form and spit in a tube to register on the donor list.

A campaign to find a donor, called Match4Lara, has gained global attention and led to a sharp rise in the number of people signing up as donors.

Celebrities including Stephen Fry and JK Rowling have also given their support.

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