Talia Tosun loses her fight against blood cancer

A young Turkish Cypriot who hit the headlines last year when she appealed for a blood donor match has died.

Talia Tosun passed away at University College London Hospital on Sunday evening surrounded by her family. She had turned 25 in February.

The talented young data wizard had been diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, an aggressive blood cancer, in April of last year.

Talia immediately underwent gruelling chemotherapy, but in August doctors informed her the treatment had not worked. She was advised she needed lifesaving stem cell treatment, and an appeal was launched to find a blood donor match.

Her employer iTech initiated the campaign for Talia, and many of the firm’s staff took the swab test. Their efforts captured media attention and galvanised the British Turkish Cypriot community into action too.

Several swab testing sessions were held to drive up registrations on the UK Blood Register. While thousands read and shared the news about the campaign, few actually came forward to register.

In November, Talia had a transplant with a partial blood match. However, she experienced many complications and her health rapidly deteriorated after the treatments failed to work.

Her family informed relatives and close friends that Talia had passed away at 7.50pm on Sunday 8 March, after being in intensive care for the past three weeks.

T-VINE extends its deepest condolences to Talia’s parents and younger sister, and her extended family and friends.

Just 20% chance to find a blood donor match for Turkish Cypriots

The battle to find a matching blood donor remains a huge challenge for Britons of Turkish ethnicity.

During the Talia Tosun appeal DKMS, one of the UK’s leading blood charities, told volunteers in the British Turkish community that Cypriots are severely under-represented on the Blood Register, vastly reducing their chances of finding a matching blood type.

There is currently a 70% chance of a donor match for those who are white British, yet this figure drops to just 20% for Britons of Turkish and Cypriot heritage.