Oldhamers called out to sign up as potentially lifesaving blood stem cell donors

Date published: 10 October 2018

Despite new stats showing that 1,746 people from Oldham have registered as blood stem cell donors with advocacy group DKMS, the town is still falling short of potential lifesavers.

Oldham makes up just 3.5% of DKMS donors in the North West.

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.

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.

The data release coincides with a new campaign from DKMS featuring people searching for their potential lifesaver.

One man featured in the campaign is local father of two, Peter McCleave, aged 40, who, after being diagnosed with myeloma, has been given just seven years to live if a matching donor is not found.

There are over three times as many women (1,302) than men (444) in the town registered with DKMS, with people who are 31 and over more than three times as likely to register as a donor compared to those 30 and younger (1,374 versus 372).

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.

Peter, who recently set his own personal challenge to secure 10,000 DKMS sign-ups from across the region, said: “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 kids 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 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 blood disorders all over the world.

The first step to register is simple and straightforward – it takes minutes, you order your home swab kit online at: dkms.org.uk/WithPeter, and then you swab the inside of your cheeks and send everything back in a pre-paid envelope to DKMS in order for your details to be added to the registry.

You will then be on standby as a potential lifesaver.

If you are called upon, there are two donation methods.

Around 90% 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% of cases, donations are made through bone marrow collection.

Bone marrow is not extracted from the spine, but taken from the pelvic bone.

Lisa Nugent, Head of Donor Recruitment at DKMS, said: “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.”

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