Cheshire dad's search for life saving stem cell match given boost by letter from 8-year-old son

Peter McCleave with sons Max and Seb

A Cheshire man's search for a stem cell match has been given a boost, thanks to a letter from his 8 year old son.

41-year-old Peter McCleave, from Bunbury, first felt unwell after finishing the IRONMAN Wales triathalon in September 2016.

He was diagnosed with pneumonia, legionnaires disease and sepsis.

But it was while doctors were looking at his scans that they realised something more serious was wrong.

The father of two was then told he has myeloma, a type of blood cancer.

While he has undergone treatment, including chemotherapy, to keep it under control, he has been told without finding a stem cell match to undergo a transplant, he will only have seven years to live.

Determined to find that match, he set up a website aiming to sign up 10,000 potential donors.

He said: "I have two boys of a wife, and I have no intention of just sitting back and waiting for this to happen.

"This is my attempt to be proactive about trying to improve my own odds, but those of other people as well."

Being aware of what his dad was going through, Peter's 8-year-old son Max has now written a letter to encourage others to sign up.

He hoped it would go in their village magazine, but it has gone viral and been seen around the world.

It has even been translated into six other languages.

Peter says he and his wife Jenny were overwhelmed by what he had done.

He said: "It literally broke me.

"I am not very prone to being expressive, but I read it and I was just speechless.

"It was just that he had understood more than we had really given him credit for.

"But this was his way of dealing with it, and this is what he came up with."

To date, more than 19,000 people have now registered through Peter's website.

Speaking to Signal, Max has a message for anyone who is thinking about getting involved.

He said: "What I would like you to do please is to go onto the website and sign up, and they will send you a swab.

"You take it out of the packet, put it in your mouth where your cheek is, then put it back in the packet and send it back.

"And hopefully dad won't just stay with me for seven years."

Peter is still looking for his match, and is hoping sharing information on his genetic make up could help.

DNA tests have shown he has Macanese (Chinese/Portuguese) heritage, along with English and Irish. 

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