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How social media increased a stem cell donor list overnight


Social media is well known for being able to create trends overnight that can spread a message worldwide at the click of a button. Celebrities and brands regularly use social media such as Twitter to promote campaigns, and a lot of the time it proves successful. Sometimes, though, a heart-warming tale emerges of how social media can be used to really help people.

Zara Al Shaikh, a 13 year old who has been diagnosed with leukaemia, launched an account on Twitter appealing for help spreading her message as far as possible. She needs an urgent bone marrow transplant, and due to her heritage, it is difficult for her to find a match.

Zara is half-British and half-Arabic, so due to her mixed ethnicity her tissue type is rare, and it is hard for her to find a transplant. Thanks to her initiatives on social media, her initial tweet has been retweeted over 12,000 times so far.

This has led to a surge in the number of people registering their interest in becoming a potential donor, with thousands signing up over the weekend as the story broke.

The teenager requires stem cell donations to make the transplant possible, and the charity that is helping her case, Delete Blood Cancer UK, has been encouraged by the increase in potential donors coming forward so far.

Delete Blood Cancer UK Head of Recruitment Caroline Portlock said: “Registering online as a potential blood stem cell donor only takes a few minutes but it could lead to you giving decades to someone else. It could lead to you saving Zara’s life or the life of someone else in need of a blood stem cell donation for his or her survival.”

If you are considering registering as a potential donor, check out the charity’s website for more: