A Lancashire dad is appealing for more people to sign up to be blood stem cell donors after it was revealed Preston is falling short of donors to help cancer patients.
Despite new statistics showing that 2,435 people from Preston have registered as donors with blood cancer charity DKMS, the area makes up just 4.9 per cent of donors in the North West.
The report reveals there are over two times as many women than men in Preston registered with DKMS and people who are 31 and over more than four times as likely to register as a donor compared to those 30 and younger.
Across the North West, there are only 49,265 people registered, making up just 12 per cent of DKMS donors in the UK.
With someone diagnosed with a blood cancer every 20 minutes in the UK, DKMS is urging more people in the area to sign up and go on standby to help save a life.
The data release coincides with a new campaign from DKMS featuring people searching for their potential lifesaver.
One man featured in the campaign is father-of-two, Peter McCleave, 40, who, after being diagnosed with myeloma, has been given just seven years to live if a matching donor is not found.
He has now set his own challenge to secure 10,000 DKMS sign-ups from across the region.
He says: “I have no intention of the seven years the doctors have given me being it. Everyone has it in their heart to help but sometimes life gets in the way.
“I’m Peter, I’ve got two children and a wife, you could help save my life and others in need of a matching donor by registering as a potential lifesaver – please don’t hold off, every second counts. I truly believe there are more good people out there than bad and I really need your help.”
Peter is just one of several faces of DKMS’ new campaign, featuring real people currently looking for their potential lifesaver.
The aim is to inspire people aged between 17 and 55 to sign up as potentially lifesaving blood stem cell donors for people with blood cancers and disorders all over the world.
Blood cancers are now the third most common cause of cancer death in the UK.
While for most people there is no single cure, a blood stem cell donation from a genetically similar person can offer the best treatment and could help give someone in need of a transplant a second chance at life.
DKMS has a growing register of over 400,000 UK donors but they desperately need more if a matching donor is to be found for everyone who needs one.
Only one in three people with a blood cancer (and in need of a transplant) will find a matching blood stem cell donor within their own family – two in three need to look outside of this.
Every year, around 2,000 people in the UK are in need of a blood stem cell transplant, like Peter.
To register, order your home swab kit online at http://www.dkms.org.uk/WithPeter. When the pack arrives, swab the inside of the cheeks and send everything back in a pre-paid envelope to DKMS in order for your details to be added to the registry.
Participants will then be on standby as a potential lifesaver.
If they are called upon, there are two donation methods. Around 90 per cent of all donations are made through a method called peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC).
In this method, blood is taken from one of the donor’s arms and a machine extracts the blood stem cells from it.
The donor’s blood is then returned to them through their other arm. This is an outpatient procedure that is usually completed in 4-6 hours.
In just 10 per cent of cases, donations are made through bone marrow collection, taken from the pelvic bone.
Lisa Nugent, head of donor recruitment at DKMS, says: “For a few minutes of your time now to sign up, you could save someone’s life in the future. If you’re aged between 17 and 55 and in general good health, there’s no excuse not to, as it could make all the difference to someone in need of a donation, like Peter and his family. There could be a #LifesaverInYou.”