Desperate Search for Mixed Race Stem Cell Donor Goes Digital

Thursday, 14 January, 2016


The search for bone marrow donors has gone digital, with the family of a 24 year old woman using the power of the internet to track down a match. Diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, Lara is now in need of a life-saving bone marrow transplant. Yet with her half Thai, half Italian heritage, she’s potentially compatible with just 3% of the mixed race donor base. Match4Lara has been launched to find Lara a match, and encourage more mixed race stem cell donors to join the fight against cancer.

“As her only brother is not a match, Lara is relying solely on the goodwill of others to save her life,” says Supanya, Lara’s mother.

With a half Thai, half Italian background, Lara has always embraced diversity. She went to university in Bristol and is at University College London studying for an MSc in Global Migration. She speaks five languages, and is passionate about building a fairer world with opportunities for all. Over the course of her young life she’s avidly studied global migration, backing her coursework by volunteering for at-risk youth and marginalised groups. She’s also worked at the UN and Human Rights Watch to help create the fairer world she believes in.

Now, Lara’s diverse heritage is paradoxically hindering her chances at finding a stem cell donor. As a mixed race patient, finding a match is extremely difficult. Less than 3% of donors on the worldwide bone marrow donor registry are mixed race, and only a small portion of them are an Asian-European fusion.

In a relentless attempt to save Lara’s life, her family have launched an online campaign to find a donor. The beautifully developed site is packed full of information on both Lara’s unique case, and Acute Myeloid Leukemia as a disease. Browsers can read about Lara’s life, watch video messages from Lara’s family in both English and Thai, as well as learn more about the process of becoming a stem cell donor. It also includes click through links to national bone marrow registries in Thailand, the United States and the UK. The site is backed by a lively social media presence, with the Match4Lara Facebook page already receiving nearly 10,000 likes, and growing fast.

As well as finding a match for Lara, the campaign also exists to increase the number of mixed race donors on the registry. The simple act of spitting into a test tube or taking a cheek swab could be the key to saving one of 12,000 cancer patients around the world.  

Seb, Lara’s brother, says, “Registering as a donor is so much easier than people think, and literally has the power to save people’s lives. We’re wholeheartedly hoping that this campaign to recruit mixed race donors will not only save Lara’s life, but also the lives of other ethnic minority cancer patients across the globe.”

To register as a donor with UK based group Anthony Nolan, go to:

To find out more about the campaign and help Lara find a match, go to:



Match4Lara is an online campaign launched by the family of a young woman recently diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. As a patient with half Thai, half Italian heritage, she is able to tap into just 3% of the mixed race donor base.


Dakota Digital for Match4Lara

Contact: Rebecca Appleton


Tel UK: 01623 428996

Tel US: 917-720-3025

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