Could you give someone the gift of life?

At a time like this, some people may feel a sense of powerlessness. But what if you were told that, today, you could potentially save a life?

A parishioner in Bunbury, with life-limiting cancer, is appealing for people to sign up for a stem cell donation scheme to see if they are a match for him and others like him.

Peter McCLeave, 42, was diagnosed when he was 39. He says: “I have been given 7 years to live having been diagnosed with incurable blood cancer. Myeloma has left my immune system compromised. Stem cells can be used to fix this. Mine don’t work, but yours might. I need someone who is a genetic match to donate some of his or her stem cells, which can be transplanted into my blood.”

Peter with his wife and two children

Coronavirus may be causing disruption, but a common misconception is that it is not currently possible to register as a potential lifesaver. The test is very straight forward and can be completed at home; a simple swab of the inside of your mouth is all that’s required.

Simply sign up to receive a swab test kit by post, conduct the swab at home, and send it back in the post.

Peter says: “There are approximately 30 million people on the stem cell register globally. Unfortunately, none are a match for me or thousands of other people like me. In the UK alone, only 2% of the population is signed up to donate stem cells. This is actually great news as it gives so many of us hope that if enough people can be engaged in this campaign, a match is absolutely out there.

“It’s simply a numbers game.”

He launched a campaign in 2018 to get 10,000 people signed up as potential lifesavers. Such was the success the new target is now 100,000.

Chair of the House of Laity in the Diocese of Chester, John Mason, knows Peter and has been helping to spread the word. In January, St Boniface Church, Bunbury, was lit up blood red to help publicise the campaign to get people to sign up and test themselves to see if they are a genetic match for Peter and others like him.

John says: “Although Pete has not yet found a match for his blood type, he has smashed his original target of getting 10,000 people tested as potential donors, and at the last count this has resulted in 14 life-saving donor matches being confirmed for others awaiting a donor.”

“Please do sign up. You can request the swab kit in under two minutes and it will arrive in the post a few days later. You really could save a life from your armchair.”

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Page last updated: Thursday 2nd April 2020 2:52 PM
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