Adrian Sudbury's campaign gets government boost

Education Secretary Ed Balls said the government will help fund the national roll-out of a scheme launched by journalist Adrian Sudbury to educate young people about bone marrow donation.

Sudbury, a former Huddersfield Examiner reporter, died from leukaemia in August 2008 after rising to national prominence through chronicling his battle with leukaemia online.

In the final months before his death Sudbury visited Downing Street with a 13,000 signature petition asking that greater bone marrow education be offered to 17-18 year olds.

Following a meeting with Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Sudbury secured ₤80,000 private funding for a pilot project – established as the Register and Be a lifesaver campaign.

The Examiner reported yesterday that during a visit to Barnsley College, Balls announced his intention for the government to help fund the scheme enabling it to extend into a nationwide project.

Balls told the Examiner: “Adrian Sudbury was a really, really brave young man.

“Before his death, I spoke to him and said we would do what he wanted to get the message out there around the country that, by giving blood, signing on the bone marrow register, you can save the lives of other young people.

“It’s what Adrian wanted. Even in the days before he died, he was saying to me, ‘Please make sure that out of my death comes something good, please get this message out to young people’.

“I want to deliver for Adrian, deliver for all the young adults around the country who need blood or bone marrow transplants.”

Sudbury’s father Keith said plans existed for a meeting with the education minister to discuss the funding, adding that he was hoping for £450,000 over the next three years.

He said: “I always thought we’d get a meeting with Mr Balls but I didn’t expect him to be as positive and committed.

“He made it very clear that he was touched by Adrian and his desire to make his campaign a reality.

“He was so impressed about how positive it was and said it was clear this was the way to get people to donate and save lives.

“He said because the evidence was so compelling he would do everything in his power to support it and fund it correctly.

“Adrian’s idea was simply that students be told the facts. He was embarrassed that he never signed up to the bone marrow register because he believed all the myths about breaking your spine open and so on.

“It’s been a big, big team effort and we’re very grateful for all the support the Examiner has given us.”

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