A matching blood stem cell donor has been found for Zara

5 April 2016

A matching blood stem cell donor has been found for Zara, the teenager from Winchester who has leukaemia.

A matching blood stem cell donor has been found for 13 year old Zara Al Shaikh. Zara, who has leukaemia, urgently needs a blood stem cell donation to treat it and will have the donation in the next few weeks. This follows Zara and her parents, along with Delete Blood Cancer UK, appealing to members of the public to register as potential blood stem cell donors to help find a match for her, and all those in need of a donation to save their life. The appeal led to thousands of people registering to save a life with Delete Blood Cancer UK in response.

For many blood cancer patients such as Zara, a blood stem cell donation is their only chance of survival and they will die if a matching donor isn’t found for them. As Zara’s heritage is half English and half Arabic, the appeal for her called on those who share her background in particular to register, as this was likely to provide the most suitable match for her.

Announcing that a match had been found for her, Zara said: “Amazing news! I've got a match. Thank you to everyone for the wonderful support and that special person for being on the register.”

Jenny Clegg, Head of Communications at Delete Blood Cancer UK, has said that everyone at the charity was overjoyed at the news: “It is wonderful that a match has been found for Zara. We are so happy for Zara and her family and our thoughts will be with them as she prepares for the donation. Our thoughts are always with the wonderful person who took the time to register as a potential donor, and who will now help save Zara’s life.”

You can register in five minutes online and request a cheek swab kit which will enable you to do your own tissue test to become a potential blood stem cell donor: www.deletebloodcancer.org.uk

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• For further information please contact Una Farrell, PR & Communications Manager, on 0208 747 5642 or at una.farrell@deletebloodcancer.org.uk

Note to editors:
• Photographs of Zara are available for publication.
• Delete Blood Cancer UK launched in the UK in February 2013. Our key mission is to recruit, retain and motivate potential stem cell donors to save patients’ lives. We are part of the DKMS family of organisations worldwide.
• Please communicate our website details: www.deletebloodcancer.org.uk for public information on how to register as a potential stem cell donor, stem cell donation and news.