Stem cell donors have the chance to help a dedicated 40-year-old father-of-two.
Peter McCleave, dad of Max, 8, and Seb, 5, was diagnosed with myeloma – a blood cancer arising from plasma cells – in March last year.
London-based blood cancer charity 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.
“His positive outlook is now firmly fixed on his diagnosis.”
“My aim is to use myeloma as a catalyst for living a better, more fulfilling life and documenting the changes I am making in all aspects of my family and work commitments,” explains Peter, from Ridley, near Bunbury.
In a blog he points out he had no history of illness and ‘did not see this coming’.
“I genuinely believed that a doctor would come running into the ward, waving hands wildly and shouting for the nurse to stop the administration of the first shot of chemo. Seriously,” he admits.
The diagnosis saw him saying ‘goodbye to my old life and hello to a very different new world of life with cancer’.
“I had been told the doctors suspected myeloma, had multiple CT scans, a bone and marrow biopsy and plenty of blood tests but up to the physical injection of the Velcade, there was in my head still a chance that it was all a mistake.
“No. It happened.”
Peter adds: “The doctors were as surprised as I was because this is a disease that tends to hit overweight 60+ people and is more prevalent in the African Caribbean community. Kidney failure is often the point it’s identified which is a hell of a lot worse than where I start my journey from.
“It was not on anybody’s radar. In fact when I got the call to go and speak to the doctor for a face to face, I was expecting some news to do with the aftermath of pneumonia. Even when he said ‘suspected myeloma’ I had no idea what he meant.
“I had never heard of myeloma. Then the ‘C’ bomb was thrown in for good measure and bang...”
He says his family and friends ‘and what I have come to call my day to day are what I truly value’.
The charity comments: “You could be the match who Peter is searching for. Let his drive be the catalyst that inspires you to register as a potential lifesaver.”
People can find out more about becoming a stem cell donor which might help Peter by visiting www.dkms.org.uk/en/match4peter .