Trends#match4lara, a social fairytale

dotmug8 years ago7 min


Once upon a time, there was a British girl, Lara. In December 2015, she was diagnosed with myelogenous leukemia. Doctors told her she needed a transplant of stem cells but her Italian-Thai-Chinese origins made it very difficult for her. So #match4Lara started, a huge worldwide campaign to raise awareness. Her message was shared by millions of people on Facebook and Twitter, and during the World Cancer Day 2016, a match for Lara was found.

When there’s also J.K. Rowling involved

In December, after the diagnosis, Lara started chemotherapy but the doctors were clear. Only a stem cells transplant could save her life, and it was necessary to find a marrow donor compatible with her. Only 3% of the registered donors in the national registers come from mixed backgrounds. After some tests proved that Lara’s brother was not a compatible match, hopes went below zero.

It was in that moment that family and friends decided to launch #match4lara, on January the 7th 2016, through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. They created a web space that tells the story of the girl and tells how to help her, by registering in the national registers of marrow donors. The number of likes on each account are not impressive, but this episode had a huge impact on the international press and the hashtag #match4lara spread immediately: still now, they are receiving millions of reach and impressions.

Celebrities gave a huge contribution to this campaign, people like Stephen J. Fry or J.K. Rowling. She tweeted on January 11 “Please RT! A Eurasian donor is desperately needed to save this young woman’s life. Do your thing, Twitter!”. A message that got more than 3700 retweets.

Anthony Nolan and the conversion rate: a case without precedents

Anthony Nolan, an English association that takes care of a national registry of donors, said that #match4lara twisted the whole system. In just 10 days, the campaign registered an increase of more than 5500 people joining the donors’ registry. An incomparable result.

We are used to talking about conversion rate when it comes to call to action pointed at consumers. Buy, subscribe, explore, download…and fundraising campaigns for many different causes are also very common. And they are often a success. But the #match4lara casa is truly emblematic. People not only consumed their fingertips retweeting, but they joined a registry, making themselves physically available.

#match4lara: the action starts from social networks

The 4th of February, Lara found her donor. However, #match4lara can’t stop, not now with such visibility. People with leukemia, with a mixed background, and in need of a marrowbone transplant are still too many. Too many for the people in the national registries.

Lara’s case was really a tale. One of those tales you want to tell starting from her smile and energy, reading all the messages from the family and the public. And also, thinking about the fact that social networks can also be channels for active participation when  its true value of diffusion and engagement is understood, and you don’t expect that they can be substitutes of  concrete action.


"C’è una sola cosa orribile al mondo, un solo peccato imperdonabile: la noia". Oscar Wilde. Dalla redazione di Dotmug non ci annoiamo di certo. Sempre alla ricerca di notizie, condiviamo, twittiamo, instagrammiamo in costante connessione con il mondo digital.

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