Urgent call for more blood stem cell donors in Wigan

Peter McCleave
Peter McCleave

Wigan is falling short of potentially life-saving blood stem cell donors, new figures reveal.

New data released by blood cancer charity DKMS shows that the borough has 1,679 registered donors, which makes up just 3.4 per cent of the total number of donors in the North West.

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The statistics also revealed that almost three times as many women than men in Wigan were registered with DKMS, a difference of 1,259 to 420.

People who are 31 and over were found to be almost three times as likely to register as a donor, compared to those 30 and younger (1,252 versus 427).

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 was given just seven years to live if a matching donor is not found, after being diagnosed with myeloma.

Peter recently set his own challenge to secure 10,000 DKMS sign-ups from across the region. He 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.”

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.

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.”

Stem cell replacement therapy has saved more than one Wiganer’s life over the years. One of those prominent was Whitley schoolgirl Emma Hoolin who, after an astonishingly quick fund-raising campaign by family and friends, went to the US for treatment for high risk neuroblastoma and has enjoyed a healthy life since.