Election 2010 Lookahead: Thursday 6 May

The who, when and where of the campaign.

It's here! Here is a round-up of what to look out for on polling day:

Leaders

Following his tour across London, Wales, the north-west and Yorkshire yesterday, Gordon Brown will be spending polling day in his home seat of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath. After his 24-hour campaign tour of the UK David Cameron will defend his seat in the Oxfordshire constituency of Witney, whilst Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg will defend his Sheffield Hallam seat.

In the Media

Sky, the BBC and ITV will announce a joint exit poll as polls close at 10pm.

ITV's epic Election 2010 coverage will run throughout the night (9.55pm until 6am on 7 May), and will be hosted by Alastair Stewart and Julie Etchingham. The coverage will also feature Conservative Party MP Ann Widdecombe, who is standing down, the former home secretary John Reid for Labour and former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown. Mary Nightingale will host the ITV Election Night Party overlooking Westminster.

Election night coverage on BBC One will be hosted by David Dimbleby, with Jeremy Paxman questioning the politicians and Nick Robinson giving his analysis. Andrew Neil will hold live interviews with politicans, and Fiona Bruce will be bringing news updates. Jeremy Vine and Emily Maitlis will be taking a closer look at the seat-by-seat detail of how Britain is voting, and will also be joined by YouGov president, Peter Kellner. (9.55pm). The BBC will also be projecting the number of seats won by the main parties on to St Stephen's Tower, which houses Big Ben.

Sky News's election night programme Decision Time will be hosted by political editor Adam Boulton at the Sky News Centre, with presenters Kay Burley, Jeremy Thompson and Anna Botting fronting the coverage from locations across the UK and tracking the party leaders (9pm). Eamonn Holmes and Dermot Murnaghan take over as the counts finish.

Radio 4's Election Night 2010 will be hosted by James Naughtie and Carolyn Quinn (10pm).

If you think everyone else is just taking the whole thing too seriously, don't miss Channel 4's Alternative Election Night with David Mitchell, Jimmy Carr and Lauren Laverne (9pm) for a satirical take on proceedings.

Away from the campaign

Tony Blair will be celebrating his 57th birthday today. Earlier this week he rejected calls for Labour supporters to vote tactically and said that people should back the party they believe in.

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#Match4Lara
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#Match4Lara: Lara has found her match, but the search for mixed-race donors isn't over

A UK blood cancer charity has seen an "unprecedented spike" in donors from mixed race and ethnic minority backgrounds since the campaign started. 

Lara Casalotti, the 24-year-old known round the world for her family's race to find her a stem cell donor, has found her match. As long as all goes ahead as planned, she will undergo a transplant in March.

Casalotti was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in December, and doctors predicted that she would need a stem cell transplant by April. As I wrote a few weeks ago, her Thai-Italian heritage was a stumbling block, both thanks to biology (successful donors tend to fit your racial profile), and the fact that mixed-race people only make up around 3 per cent of international stem cell registries. The number of non-mixed minorities is also relatively low. 

That's why Casalotti's family launched a high profile campaign in the US, Thailand, Italy and the US to encourage more people - especially those from mixed or minority backgrounds - to register. It worked: the family estimates that upwards of 20,000 people have signed up through the campaign in less than a month.

Anthony Nolan, the blood cancer charity, also reported an "unprecedented spike" of donors from black, Asian, ethcnic minority or mixed race backgrounds. At certain points in the campaign over half of those signing up were from these groups, the highest proportion ever seen by the charity. 

Interestingly, it's not particularly likely that the campaign found Casalotti her match. Patient confidentiality regulations protect the nationality and identity of the donor, but Emily Rosselli from Anthony Nolan tells me that most patients don't find their donors through individual campaigns: 

 It’s usually unlikely that an individual finds their own match through their own campaign purely because there are tens of thousands of tissue types out there and hundreds of people around the world joining donor registers every day (which currently stand at 26 million).

Though we can't know for sure, it's more likely that Casalotti's campaign will help scores of people from these backgrounds in future, as it has (and may continue to) increased donations from much-needed groups. To that end, the Match4Lara campaign is continuing: the family has said that drives and events over the next few weeks will go ahead. 

You can sign up to the registry in your country via the Match4Lara website here.

Barbara Speed is a technology and digital culture writer at the New Statesman and a staff writer at CityMetric.