Mixed-race woman with leukaemia – level 3
Twenty-four-year-old Lara Casalotti was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukaemia in December. Now against the odds, she’s found a bone marrow donor.
The chances of finding a match were extremely slim because of her Thai-Italian heritage – only three per cent of worldwide of stem cell donor registers have mixed-race donors, but someone has been found that could save her life.
“I’m very excited to tell you some great news that a well-matching donor has been found and if all goes to plan then I will go to transplant soon.”
Lara’s best hope of a cure is a stem cell transplant, but a global campaign by blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan and her family found a suitable match.
“The donor will need to be a genetic match to her, and as you can see, I’m Thai, and her dad is Italian.”
“From the very beginning this campaign has been not just about finding a match for me, but diversifying the donor registries and just getting more people in the registries in general.”
Her brother, Sepp Casalotti, says the family is relieved.
“It’s a horrible time, it’s horrible news to hear in the first place but when you have so many people behind you, it just keeps you so positive, and Lara’s always known that this campaign has been more than just about her – it’s trying to tackle this problem that we have of mixed-race and ethnic minority people having a much harder time to find a match.”
The donor’s identity has to be kept a secret due to confidentiality regulations, but it’s hoped they’ll donate their stem cells next month.
Difficult words: aggressive (serious), against the odds (against a bad situation), bone marrow (soft, fatty material in the middle of bones where blood cells are produced), heritage (origin), register (a list of people or things), diversify (to make more diverse – different), tackle (to deal with), due to (because of), confidentiality (the state of keeping things secret).
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