Family of mixed-raced cancer patient Lara Casalotti launch global appeal to find rare stem cell donor

Lara Casalotti, 24, from London has been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia

The family of a mixed-raced student diagnosed with blood cancer have launched an international appeal for a rare donor.
Lara Casalotti, 24, has both Thai and Italian heritage. Since matching donors usually come from someone of the same ethnicity, the chances of finding the right donor for her tissue type are low.
Casalotti was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia a week before Christmas, when she suspected she had pulled a muscle in her back. Doctors said a stem cell transplant would be crucial, with her best chance of finding a match amongst people with both Asian and European heritage.
But of the donors registered with Anthony Nolan, a leading bone marrow charity, only 0.5 per cent are from East Asian backgrounds. In fact, Casalotti’s case reveals a troubling fact of the bone marrow register: a dearth of donors for ethnic minorities.
Patients of Asian, black and minority ethnic backgrounds have less than a 20 per cent chance of finding a suitable match.
Lara’s family have launched the Match4Lara appeal in order to find a match for Lara – but they also hope to raise awareness for other blood cancer patients from ethnic minorities who are desperate for a stem cell transplant. Sadly, Casalotti’s only brother is not a match.