Lara, a close friend of my housemate, is a 24-year-old UCL student, passionate about human rights and working on refugee issues. She was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia in 2015, and due to amazing efforts over the last few weeks, she has found a match to allow a stem cell transplant. This is such happy news and we are all so relieved but there are still so many people out there needing a match.
As medical students, this is a disease that we will have all learned about over the years, but here it is happening closer to home, and to someone just like us.
And she's not the only one. Every year, thousands of families will rely on total strangers to save the life of their loved ones. That stranger could be you.
Lara is Chinese/Thai-Italian, so her match was most likely to be of BAME (Black, Asian, or Minority Ethnic) or mixed race heritage. Only 3% of the worldwide stem cell registry is currently mixed race. Practising medicine in the diverse area of East London that we do, this is an issue that we could easily come across with future patients, yet there is an obvious and feasible solution. The #match4lara campaign is a drive to diversify the registers so that every ethnicity has an equal chance of finding a match.
On Wednesday 17th February, we are going to hold a recruitment drive in the Griff Inn to get all you lovely Barts & QM students (and anyone else in the vicinity!) involved. It takes 10 minutes to join the bone marrow donor register, and it's so simple. It's a Wednesday afternoon so most of you will be free/pretending to do work, and if you're playing sport- bring your team (and the opposition) along! To join you need to be between the ages of 16 and 30 and in good health.
Fill out a form, spit in a tube.
You stay on the register until you're 60. If you end up matching with someone, donating is incredibly easy, a lot like just giving blood.
The donor drive will take place as follows:
From 12 noon onwards in the Griff Inn, BLSA Building, Newark Street, Whitechapel, London, E1 2AT
End time TBC
You must not eat, drink, chew gum or brush your teeth for 30 minutes before spitting!!
We promise to reward this short fast with tasty calorific treats.
Let's find a #match4all
P.S. we will be carrying on the spitting before the Rag event that evening in the foyer of Laird Hall: https://www.facebook.com/events/187631248261721/
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