A panel from The Adventures of the Noah Family by James Francis Horrabin.
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The Returning Officer: Illustrations II

On James Francis Horrabin.

James Francis Horrabin, born in Peterborough in 1884, started working as a cartoonist on the Sheffield Telegraph in 1906. After fighting with the Queen’s Westminster Rifles in the First World War, he became a founding member of the British Communist Party and was elected as Labour MP for Peterborough in 1929, defeating the Tory Henry Brassey, who had represented the area since 1910. He was an advocate of “socialist geography” and published books such as An Atlas of Current Affairs, a favourite of the Left Book Club.

His cartoons for the Daily News, News Chronicle and Star included The Adventures of the Noah Family, Dot and Carrie (two office girls) and Japhet and Happy (a boy and a bear). In 1937, he hosted what may have been the world’s first current affairs TV show, News Map

This article first appeared in the 16 July 2015 issue of the New Statesman, The Motherhood Trap

#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.