Match4Zara: Transplant donor found after social media search

Zara Image copyright Kerensa Shaikh
Image caption Zara Al Shaikh has acute myeloid leukaemia

A 13-year-old girl, whose social media appeal for a blood stem cell transplant went viral, has thanked people after a donor was found.

Zara Al Shaikh, who has acute myeloid leukaemia, opened a Twitter account in February to urgently appeal for help.

Her second tweet has been shared more than 15,500 times.

Zara, from Winchester, said: "Thank you to everyone for the wonderful support and that special person for being on the register."

The teenager was inspired by the #MatchForLara campaign that helped another young woman from a mixed-race background find a donor.

Among those who retweeted the appeal were Sherlock actors Mark Gatiss and Louise Brealey as well as American author Rainbow Rowell.

Image copyright Twitter

Jenny Clegg, from Delete Blood Cancer UK, said everyone at the charity thought the news was "wonderful".

She said: "We are so happy for Zara and her family and our thoughts will be with them as she prepares for the donation."

Zara first went through chemotherapy in 2014 and completed four courses of the treatment, but after 15 months in remission developed acute myeloid leukaemia.

She is currently at Southampton University Hospital after going through another round of chemotherapy that will leave her weak and prone to infection over the next few weeks.

Charity Anthony Nolan says a shortage of registered donors means only 20% of people from ethnic minority backgrounds who need a stem cell transplant will find a perfect match.

A spokesperson for Delete Blood Cancer said the donor was not in the UK, but would not release any further details.

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