Patient Story

Bacon butties back DKMS!

Brotton ‘big breakfast’ stem cell donor registration drive brings hope for people with blood cancer


“It was to raise awareness for more people to get their matches, and get a second chance at life,” Sam Fletcher.

After Kevin McPike, 37, from Brotton in East Cleveland was recently diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia and left in need of a stem cell transplant, friends like Sam Fletcher and Kevin’s family were hugely relieved when his brother Michael was found to be a compatible stem cell donor for him.

Selflessly, they then linked up with DKMS to help other blood cancer patients find their stem cell matches too, by organising a special stem cell donor registration and fundraising event at Brotton Community Hall on 6 April. Harnessing the goodwill and kindness of the local community, they arranged for people who registered to enjoy a ‘breakfast bun’, donated by local butchers, in return for a small donation. Others pitched in to provide snacks and refreshments, games and prizes for a tombola and raffle, with all proceeds raised going to DKMS.

Nicola Fletcher-Borrell, another of Kevin’s friends, said: “Whilst it's amazing that a match has been identified for Kev, we know there are many others still waiting for a match that could potentially save their lives – we felt it was only right that we rally the troops and try our hardest to help those in need."

Brotton residents sign up

A fantastic £925.60 was raised, with 96 people registering as stem cell donors. Over the weekend of 6-7 April, DKMS also received 567 online requests for the simple mouth swab kits that are a central part of the quick and easy process of signing up to the stem cell register.

Local resident Adele Shepherd also joined the register at the event. She said: "We need to come together when people are in need. Anything that I can do to help then obviously, I'd like to do that."

Rothiir Magus also registered after getting a leaflet through the door. He said: "When it said it was as easy as just a cheek swab can help save someone's life, I just thought, well, it's no time or energy out of my day. So, if something as simple as that can help someone else, then why not?"

Brotton community spirit shines bright

Every 20 minutes, someone in the UK is diagnosed with blood cancer and for many of them, their only hope of a second chance at life is a stem cell transplant. DKMS spokesperson Deborah Hyde said: “Kevin’s friends, family and everyone in Brotton who got involved with Saturday’s event have proved the positive power of community action. A huge DKMS ‘thank you’ to each and every one of them – they’re giving hope to people waiting to find their stem cell match.”

You too can join the worldwide chain of hope for those in need of a stem cell transplant by joining the register online here. Together, we can delete blood cancer.

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