Needle in a haystack

Leukemia sufferer with Thai-Chinese-Italian heritage finds stem cell donor match

Lara Casalotti (Facebook)

A celebrity-backed global search for a stem cell donor whose cells matched those of 24-year-old British Leukemia victim Lara Casalotti, who is half Thai-Chinese and half-Italian, has resulted in thousands of new donors coming forward, including many mixed race ones. Casalotti’s unique background made her search for a donor a difficult one, as only three percent of registered stem cell donors are mixed race, an even smaller number of which match her heritage. But an online campaign launched a month ago and boosted by the support of British Prime Minister David Cameron, author J.K. Rowling, designer Mario Testino, and actor Stephen Fry led to more than 15,000 new donors.

The Casalotti’s have expressed “pure relief” at finding a likely genetic match for Lara, according to The Telegraph, though they plan to continue to hold planned “Match4Lara” events to sign up new donors for other victims.

“These past months have been a whirlwind but I am so thankful a donor with a genetic match has now been found,” Casalotti told the paper. “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.”

Read the full story at The Telegraph.

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