A CHESHIRE firm has presented a cheque of £6,200 to a blood cancer charity as part of their support of local man Peter McCleave.

Dad-of-two, Peter, 41, was diagnosed with myeloma in 2017 and told he had seven years to live.

He started working with blood cancer charity DKMS the following September, vowing to get others to sign up to the UK’s aligned stem cell registry, and raise vital funds for the charity.

Every 20 minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with a blood cancer, such as leukaemia, myeloma or lymphoma and often a blood stem cell donation is the best – and sometimes the only - treatment method to help give someone a second chance at life. Combined, blood cancers are the third biggest cause of cancer death in the UK.

Directors Phil Illingworth and Jonathan Seddon, and staff at Illingworth Seddon, a Cheshire-based chartered financial planners, first met Peter in 2018 when he attended their offices at Tattenhall.

Inspired by Peter’s story, and news that he would be competing in this year’s annual Crumball Rally, a continental drive through France, Italy and Switzerland; as part of Blood Cancer Awareness Month (September), Phil and Jonathan pledged to support Peter’s £25,000 fundraising attempt. Illingworth Seddon’s donation helps bring Peter’s fundraising to £30,000.

Chester and District Standard:

Peter McCleave at Illingworth Seddon.

It costs £40 to register one potential blood stem cell donor, and DKMS relies on monetary donations to help cover this cost. Whilst the NHS is very supportive, it falls to charities like DKMS to reach out to potential lifesavers. Funds donated by Illingworth Seddon staff will help DKMS to cover the cost of registrations, and allow the charity to provide an additional 155 home swab kits to help give Peter, and the 2,000 others in the UK who are searching for a matching donor each year, a second chance at life.

Phil said: “Everyone at Illingworth Seddon is pleased that Peter was able to complete his Crumball Rally challenge, and it really means so much to us that we are able to present DKMS with this cheque during Blood Cancer Awareness Month.

“Our only hope now is that we can help Peter find a matching blood stem cell donor soon, so we’re encouraging all our staff at our three sites to register with DKMS.”

Once you are registered with DKMS, if you are called upon, there are two possible donation methods. Around 90% of all donations are made through a method called peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) collection. This method is very similar to giving blood. It involves blood being taken from one of the donor’s arms and a machine separates 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.

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In just 10 per cent of cases, donations are made through bone marrow collection. Bone marrow is taken from the pelvic bone under general anaesthetic.

Jonathan added: “Peter’s story continues to touch the hearts of everyone at Illingworth Seddon – we all want to help. Our Client Account Manager Claire Dickens will be running the Sandstone Trail Race (29th September) on behalf of Peter and DKMS, so we wish her good luck and hope we can raise even more money to help those affected by blood cancer.”

By registering as a potential blood stem cell donor, you will join over 500,000 lifesavers-in-waiting with DKMS, on standby to help a stranger in need. If you are aged between 17-55 and in general good health, please register for your home swab kit today at www.dkms.org.uk/en/blood-cancer-awareness-month-2019.

Caroline Richardson, head of fundraising at DKMS said: “We’re thrilled that Phil and Jonathan chose to support Peter’s Crumball Rally. Today’s donation is another great example of the local community pulling together to support one of their own, and illustrates Illingworth Seddon’s commitment to helping DKMS fight blood cancer. We’ll put their donation to good use immediately by providing home swab kits to even more potential lifesavers.”