A 13-year-old girl with leukaemia has taken her search for a bone marrow donor online, writing a plea on Twitter for help to find a match. Zara Al Shaikh, from Hampshire, saw her tweet shared more than 12,500 times, with people using the hashtag Match4Zara after she wrote about her urgent need to find a match.
She wrote: "I urgently need a bone marrow transplant. I have a very rare tissue type due to mixed ethnicity (Arabic/British). Pls help me find a match."
The teenager, who is a fan of drawing manga cartoons and hopes to be an artist when she is older, also has a website started on her behalf by her uncle. Her website, Match4Zara, said: "Zara loves animals, Mr Mittens her cat and Amber her Cockerpoo! They are so missed when she is in hospital. She had her hair dyed blue a few weeks ago. She did this just before she commenced chemotherapy as a way of taking control of the situation."
The teenager was originally diagnosed with myeloid dysplasia aged just 11, which was successfully treated by chemotherapy. However, after 18 months in remission, Zara now has acute myeloid leukaemia and is in need of a bone marrow transplant.
The website added: "Zara now needs a blood stem cell donation to get better but there are currently no suitable matching donors for her. As Zara has mixed Arabic and English heritage, it is harder to find a match for her as tissue type is determined by ancestry. So we need this message to go global, viral and get everywhere. All corners of the earth (and the International Space Station even)."
The website also shared information on how to sign up to donate stem cells or bone marrow.
For more information, visit: Delete Blood Cancer, The Anthony Nolan Trust, or The British Bone Marrow Registry