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A member of staff at Everton Football Club has donated some of his blood stem cells to a patient with blood cancer to help save their life.
Christopher Clarke, Head of Insight at the Club, decided to register when he saw the Club’s appeal for eight year old Finn McEwen, an Everton fan from Orrell who needed a blood stem cell donation to treat his leukaemia. Along with Christopher, over 10,000 people registered with Delete Blood Cancer UK as a result of the appeal. A match was found for Finn and he is now doing very well following a blood stem cell donation last Summer.
The appeal received widespread support from across the country including from Everton, the team that Finn is a huge fan of. Current and former Everton players encouraged people to register as potential blood stem cell donors and the Club ran several events with Delete Blood Cancer UK to give people the opportunity to register. It was at one of these events that Christopher registered.
Christopher is very happy that he has been able to donate as he knows that not every patient in need of a blood stem cell donation finds a matching donor. He had his blood stem cells collected by peripheral blood stem cell collection. This procedure extracts the stem cells via the blood stream, and is a method similar to giving blood except that it takes several hours.
Christopher said: “It’s a surreal and humbling feeling knowing that the few hours I spent donating blood stem cells could go a long way to saving someone’s life. The whole process from registration through to donation is really simple and certainly not as intrusive as I thought it would be. I would encourage anyone to register as you can really make a difference.”
Speaking about Christopher donating some of his blood stem cells, Jenny Clegg, Head of Communications at Delete Blood Cancer UK, said: “Christopher is giving the most important gift someone can give to another person, the chance of life. It is such a special thing to do.
“It is also wonderful that Everton are getting to see first-hand the impact of their work to encourage people to register as potential blood stem cell donors. While most people who register won’t end up matching with, and donating to, a patient – this shows that matches do happen regularly, and patients can find the matching donor they need to help save their life.”
Everton Ambassador Graeme Sharp, who was part of the drive to encourage registrations for Finn’s campaign, added: “We saw a massive rise in people registering as a result of Finn’s appeal and the news that Finn found a match really did make it all worthwhile. The fact that Christopher has donated has allowed us as a Football Club to see what happens from a donor’s perspective.
“We still need many more people to register as finding a tissue match is very complex and the more people registered, the better the chances of more patients find their lifesaving match.”
You can register in five minutes online and request a cheek swab kit that will enable you to do your own tissue test to become a potential blood stem cell donor through the Delete Blood Cancer UK website: www.deletebloodcancer.org.uk
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