A community has been thanked for supporting a blood cancer charity.
The donor recruitment event for London based DKMS took place at the Jubilee Playing Fields in Bunbury and saw 41 registrations of new potential donors.
It was organised by residents Beth Hayward, Gemma McGrillis and Claire Mould after seeing family friend Peter McCleave – dad of Max, 8, and Seb, 5 – diagnosed with myeloma, a blood cancer arising from plasma cells, in March last year.
DKMS says Peter is known to love a challenge having completed an Ironman, holding a private pilot’s license and is also a qualified rugby coach.
“But today Peter is facing his biggest challenge yet and he needs your help,” says the charity.
“Having received two rounds of chemotherapy which failed Peter is now on his third round but he has been told that his only chance at a longer healthy life is a blood stem cell donation.
“Unfortunately a match hasn’t been found in Peter’s family and his second chance of life now rests on finding an unrelated match.
“Peter has a passion for all sports, from supporting Leeds Rhinos Rugby League team to Newcastle United Football Club but he values family and friends above all else.”
Beth, Gemma and Claire say they were keen to register more people to help others find their matching donor.
Beth said: “A huge thank you to everyone who attended the donor drive and registered as a potential lifesaver. It was touching to see so many people taking the time to attend and help in support of a great cause.
“We started the campaign to raise awareness and register more potential lifesavers because of our friend’s diagnosis and want to continue because we know it could help other people in the UK, or internationally, that are in need of a match.”
Those unable to attend the donor drive in Bunbury can still become a potential lifesaver. Anyone in the UK aged between 17-55 and in general good health can register for a home swab kit online at www.dkms.org.uk.
Lisa Nugent, head of donor recruitment at DKMS, said: “Thanks to Beth and Claire for all their efforts in organising the Bunbury Fun Run donor recruitment event. A big thank you to those that registered and donated funds on the day.
“Your actions will really help make a difference to someone living with a blood cancer.”
The charity explains that every 20 minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with a blood cancer while a blood stem cell donation from a genetically similar person can offer the best treatment, a second chance at life.
Sadly, four out of 10 blood cancer patients will not find an unrelated matching blood stem cell donor they need, not because a match doesn’t exist but simply because there aren’t enough people registered as donors.