A regional newspaper journalist’s campaign to raise awareness nationally about bone marrow donation has been given £165,000 of government funding.
Huddersfield Examiner journalist Adrian Sudbury died last year of bone cancer, after editing an award-winning blog about his condition. He devoted the last months of his life to a campaign which sought to persuade the government to back an education programme in schools about bone marrow donation.
Earlier this year, a pilot project called Register and be a Lifesaver was launched with £40,000 of funding from the Government and £40,000 from private sector benefactor Baker Tilly. It involved training 68 volunteers to give talks in sixth form colleges about bone marrow donation.
The scheme is now to be rolled out across every school in the UK.
Secretary of state for children, schools and families Ed Balls said: “I had the opportunity to go and see the work which the whole team have been doing in order to get the message to young people that it’s ok to donate, that it is not painful or difficult and you can save lives.
“It works. I have seen with my own eyes the power of the film presentation and the impact.
“The evaluation results of the pilot are extremely positive. What they show is that the volunteer training is working, the presentations are very powerful and the message is getting out to thousands of students and as a result, young people are signing up to the register.
“We were really impressed by the statistics but we also remember what Adrian said in his final days before he died, which was that he wanted his legacy and campaign to continue so young people have chance to have their lives saved.
“We decided that we can fund that next stage of the work. If this is working in two parts of the country we should try to spread this right across the country and make that army of volunteers grow and grow. We are going to fund the work of the trust and the campaign to the tune of £165,000 over the next year and a half – £50,000 this year and £115,000 next year.
“It doesn’t bring back Adrian or take away the suffering for his family but it means hundreds, probably thousands, will have their lives saved in future because of the campaigning work he did.”