World Marrow Donor Day

21 September 2019

Today, 21st September, on World Marrow Donor Day, people with blood cancer from across the world will be saying THANK YOU, DONOR.

Worldwide there are more than 35 million potential blood stem cell donors for patients in need of a transplant. These donors give hope, positivity, love and often a second chance at life to patients, their families and friends worldwide! In the UK, Peter wanted to say a special thank you to a few of his friends whom he inspired to become lifesaving donors.

Photograph courtesy of Stretton Studios

For this year’s World Marrow Donor Day, (21st September), people with blood cancers and disorders around the world will be saying a big thank you to lifesaving donors for giving them a second chance at life.

Each year, around 30,000 in the UK are diagnosed with blood cancer and a blood stem cell transplant can be their best or only chance of survival. Yet two out of three people with blood cancer will not find a matching blood stem cell donor within their family and will rely on a stranger to be their lifesaver.

One man desperately in need of a blood stem cell transplant is 41-year-old father of two young children, Peter McCleave. He  was diagnosed with a rare form of myeloma in February 2017. Doctors have said that if a match cannot be found, he has just seven years to live.

The diagnosis galvanised Peter into action and he has made it his personal crusade to find himself, as well as the other 2,000 people in the UK who are desperately searching for a blood stem cell match each year, a matching donor. He has given countless radio and television interviews as well as making appearances at numerous donor drives to encourage people to come forward to swab and join the UK’s aligned stem cell registry.

As a result of Pete’s campaigning over the last two years, over 30,000 people have requested swab kits and he has raised over £30,000 for DKMS. From those people, seven people have already been matched and have subsequently gone on to donate their blood stem cells to someone with blood cancer. Two of those special people are Alex and Abby who recently met up with Pete at Crewe Hall in Cheshire as he wanted to personally thank them for becoming lifesavers.

Photograph courtesy of Stretton Studios

Pete said:” I wanted to take this opportunity on World Marrow Donor Day to thank not only Alex and Abby but everybody who has so far come forward and requested a swab kit. You are my heroes.”

“I was stunned to learn that they have both had been matched and it’s such a marvellous feeling to know that their donations could give someone with blood cancer a second chance at life.”

“However, there is still a long way to go to help everybody who needs a blood stem cell donation and I would urge everyone who is eligible to come forward. We still need more people to come forward and become donors. So if you’re between 17 and 55 and in general good health, please take the first step by ordering your home swab kit. The swabs will take just five minutes and if you’re matched to someone in need, you could save a life like mine.”

Alex, 32 from Chorley said: “I first met Pete when we worked together, he was my manager and went on to become great mentor to me.  When we heard about his diagnosis, I was so shocked and I wanted to do whatever I could to help. I requested a swab kit immediately from DKMS in February 2019. Just 12 months later, I received a call from DKMS to say I was a match. I was stunned, elated and scared all at the same time. Obviously, Pete was the first person I called as I knew the news would gave him a real boost. We all hope that Pete gets his match very soon as he has done so much to help others.”

Photograph courtesy of Stretton Studios

This video from patients, families, friends, initiative groups and employees of DKMS was created with a lot of love and gratitude for all donors, no matter where they are, no matter where they registered! We want to say THANK YOU for your altruistic willingness to help a stranger in need of a blood stem cell transplant. 

Find out more about WORLD MARROW DONOR DAY.

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