Family and friends of Talia Tosun, a young British Turkish Cypriot fighting an aggressive blood cancer, hope a suitable donor will be found in the next few weeks.
They have arranged three venues around London for people aged between 16 and 55 years old to go along and have a simple swab test, and be added to the UK’s blood register.
People of Turkish, Cypriot, and Middle Eastern heritage are particularly under-represented on the register, and yet they offer the best prospects for Talia to find a blood donor match, so so she can have life-saving stem cell treatment.
The 24-year-old was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia earlier this year, and immediately started chemotherapy. Unfortunately, doctors told Talia in August that the treatment had failed.
Her hopes of beating the cancer now rest with a global search to find a suitable donor. Hatice Suleyman, a family friend and committee member from the Turkish Women’s Philanthropic Association (TWPA), said:
“Talia is only 24 years old, with her whole life ahead of her. She’s literally fighting for her life. We’re confident there is one special, unique person out there who can save her. That’s why we’ve come together to organise three swab testing sessions over the next few weeks.”
Mrs Suleyman added, “Even if you can’t make it to one of the venues, people can contact the charities directly who can send a swab kit to your home.
“It’s really easy to do a swab test. It’s like taking a cotton bud and rubbing it on the inside of your cheek. Your saliva is then sent off to the lab and your details added to the UK blood register.”
Talia’s family and friends have arranged for two testing sessions in North London – at the TWPA in Turnpike Lane and Regency Banqueting Suite in Tottenham – and one at Rauf Denktas Turkish School / Blackfen Schools for Girls in Southeast London. More are planned.
People can just turn up and do a quick test, which takes a matter of minutes. Anthony Nolan and DKMS (We Delete Blood Cancer) – the two charities overseeing the tests – will then inform you if you are a match once the results are back from the lab, and also add your details to the UK blood register.
For more information about the #SwabforTalia campaign, follow them on Facebook or Twitter.