Peter McCleave is well known in his home country of UK, as he has been campaigning to raise awareness of the importance of stem cell donation following his own diagnosis three years ago.
Peter is visiting Lanzarote with his family for a short break before Christmas and will be staying at the home of one of our regular readers, which is how we became aware of the issue.
Having completed an Ironman Triathlon in 2016, he came down with a series of nasty infections. After having a body scan at his local hospital, it was found that he has a form of blood cancer called Myeloma. The prognosis with conventional treatment is not good – a typical lifespan after diagnosis is about seven years.
As you can see from the images above, Peter’s campaign has attracted a lot of attention.
But a treatment using stem cells from a donor has proved to be much more effective, with around a third of patients making a recovery. The problem is finding someone with a stem cell match – hence Peter’s efforts at publicising stem cell donation.
There is an international stem cell register, but less than 0.5% of the world’s population is registered, and stem cell donation needs an almost exact DNA match. In Peter’s case, it’s thought that there may be 40,000 in the world who could provide a match, but finding one of them is proving to be hard.
When he started campaigning, his aim was to add 10,000 people to the register, and they’ve already added more than 33,000, and that work has directly provided 8 donor matches! But they still searching for an elusive match that will save Peter’s life.
Can you help? Here’s where to go to request a swab kit. You can simply swab yourself and send the kit back.
If you live here on the island, you can register here: Spanish residents.
You can find out more about the campaign here: 10000 Donors.
And don’t be nervous – if you prove to be a match, in most cases stem cells are taking with a simple blood transfusion.