Young people answer the call to ‘Swab For Talia’

Over fifty people attended a swab session in North London on Wednesday evening in the hope of becoming a blood match for Talia Tosun.

The Turkish Women’s Philanthropic Association in Turnpike Lane, Wood Green, worked with blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan, who were on hand to take swabs from those who attended.

The simple process involves a swab gently scraping the inside of the mouth for saliva, which is sent off to a laboratory for testing. The details are logged on the national blood register, and those matching someone in need of a bone marrow transplant or stem cell treatment, can be quickly informed.

Young person does swab test at TWPA, as part of the #SwabForTalia campaign, 09 Oct. 2019. Photo © Hatice Suleyman


The campaign for Talia was initiated by her employer iTech, following her diagnosis in April of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, an aggressive blood cancer. She immediately started chemotherapy.

In August doctors told the 24-year-old that the chemotherapy had failed and that her only chance of survival is stem cell treatment. Currently there is no match for her on the global Blood Register.

The best likelihood of a match is from someone from her own Turkish Cypriot community or from similar ethnicities, such as Greek Cypriot, Turkish, Kurdish, and Arabs. However, in the UK, these are among the worst represented communities on the Blood Register.

Sarah (left), from Anthony Nolan, & TWPA’s Hatice Suleyman outside TWPA for Swab for Talia, 09 Oct. 2019. Photo © Hatice Suleyman


An online and media appeal has been underway this past month to try and encourage people to register. Another two planned swab test sessions are planned, one in North London, and another in South London.

Those unable to attend these can order a swab kit to do at home directly from one of two blood charities: Anthony Nolan (for ages 16 to 30 only), or DKMS (ages 18 to 55).

Next swab test sessions in London

Monday 14 October

Regency Banqueting Suite, 10AM-5PM

Amber Rooms, 113 Bruce Grove, Tottenham, London N17 6UR

(by Bruce Grove Station) 

Saturday 19 October

Rauf Raif Denktaş Turkish School, 10AM-2PM

Blackfen Girls School, Blackfen Road, Sidcup DA15 9NU