#Match4Lara: The search for stem cell doner for leukaemia sufferer just got a major boost

The search for life-saving stem cells for a leukaemia sufferer that won support from the British Prime Minister will begin later with a “spit drive” to find a match.

David Cameron joined a host of celebrities backing a campaign to urgently find a potential donor for Lara Casalotti, who was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia shortly before Christmas and needs a transplant by April to increase her hopes of survival.

Match4Lara began earlier this month after the 24-year-old discovered her brother, Seb, was not a suitable donor.

The campaign has since generated attention from Stephen Fry, JK Rowling, fashion photographer Mario Testino, Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason and Hollywood actor Mark Wahlberg.

Cameron said he would “certainly” be “supporting” the campaign during Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) on Wednesday.

Blood cancer charity, Anthony Nolan, said publicity for the drive had encouraged such an “unprecedented” number of applicants to join its online donor register that it had to change its server to cope with the surge.

But Casalotti, a student from Belsize Park in north London, said she was pleased that the campaign had raised awareness of the general need to “diversify” registers which have a shortage of ethnic minority donors.

The spit drive will take place in the O2 Centre in Finchley Road, north London, from 2-6pm on Saturday.

The register takes applicants aged 16-30 and in good health. They just need to spit in a test tube or have a cheek swab.

Responding to a question from MP Tulip Siddiq about whether he would be attending the drive, Cameron said: “I certainly will join the Honourable Lady in supporting Lara’s campaign.

Tulip Siddiq – I raised the Match4Lara campaign with the… | Facebook

“I have had meetings with the bone marrow organisations in No 10 Downing Street to support the matching campaign.”

Casalotti said: “I would like to thank Tulip Siddiq for bringing up the Match4Lara campaign at PMQs.

“I sincerely appreciate David Cameron’s support to help raise awareness of increasing numbers on the bone marrow donor registries and the issue of needing to diversify the registries so that everyone has an equal chance of finding a donor.

“The event will be a great opportunity to get as many people as possible signed up! It’s as simple as spitting into a tube!”

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