‘Stem Cell Scouser’ calls for donors

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Kevin has won several awards for his efforts. Pic © Kevin Dunne

A Formby pensioner is appealing for volunteers to donate their stem cells for blood cancer sufferers.

Kevin Dunne began fundraising for the cause after his wife was diagnosed with leukemia and had a stem cell transplant from an anonymous unrelated donor.

His brother, Tony, was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder nine months later and Kevin successfully donated his stem cells. Although it is very rare for a sibling to be the right match, Kevin and his brother beat the odds.

Unfortunately for many, this is not the case and others often struggle to find a stem cell donor to match their requirements.

It was following this that 70-year-old Kevin came up with the idea to start ‘Stem Cell Scousers’. He told JMU Journalism: “Shortly after my brother’s recovery, the transplant coordinator had said ‘those Scouse stem cells are really doing the business’. It was once he said that that it clicked and that is where the idea came from.”

Mr Dunne has set up a small army of volunteers under the Stem Cell Scousers name, although he urgently needs more volunteers to sign up.

He said: “Just in the UK alone, every 20 minutes someone is diagnosed with  a blood cancer. Every year, over 2,000 of those need a stem cell transplant to get a second chance at life. Very sadly only half of them manage to find a donor.”

Kevin was nominated for the Individual Fundraiser of the Year award after he brought in more than £21,000 for the Anthony Nolan Foundation. Kevin was the finalist, receiving a commendation, and hopes to continue his success as he urges people to keep on donating.

For all those considering being a stem cell donor, Kevin said: “Its not painful, it’s very easy and the feeling when you have done it, and the fact you may have just saved someone’s life, is just fantastic.

“I hope people will think ‘wow well if he can do it, I can do it.’”

YouTube: CLL Support Association

About Shaniece Thompson, JMU Journalism