CAMPAIGNING Examiner reporter Adrian Sudbury has lost his fight with leukaemia.
Adrian, 27, died early this morning at the Nottinghamshire home of his parents, Keith and Kay, after battling the disease for 18 months.
Adrian – known as Sudders – had captured the hearts of people all over the world with his Sign Up For Sudders campaign to raise awareness about bone marrow donation.
He started the campaign in May, just after learning his leukaemia was terminal. His aim was to get more people to sign up as bone marrow donors.
He also wanted the Government to make sure all young people in the UK – especially 17 and 18-year-olds – were educated about donation as standard.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Health Secretary Alan Johnson and Education Secretary Ed Balls supported his campaign.
When the school term starts in September the Government will be sending out education packs about blood, bone marrow and organ donation to all schools and colleges in UK, along with a letter to teachers, asking them to deliver talks about the issue to young people.
The PM is also writing to celebrities to ask them to take part in a national public information campaign about bone marrow donation.
Adrian’s father said: “Adrian died peacefully in his sleep. Every parent thinks their son or daughter is special and we are no different.
“Adrian touched all who knew him. We're very proud of all his achievements in tragically such a short time.
“Kay and I hope that all Adrian's good work will be continued by all those who knew and loved him.’’
There will be a private family funeral followed by a service of remembrance at Sheffield Cathedral at a date to be confirmed.
Adrian’s campaign saw him appear on international TV, radio and in the press.
It attracted a huge following of supporters, dubbed Adrian's Army, who have vowed to continue his work to raise awareness about bone marrow donation.
Adrian himself had a bone marrow transplant as part of his fight against leukaemia, but it did not cure him.
However, it gave him an extra year of life and he wanted to help give the same chance to the 16,000 people in the world waiting for transplants.
Adrian’s battle with cancer began in November, 2006, shortly after he started work at the Examiner. Before that he had worked for three years as a junior reporter at the Examiner's weekly papers, the Express and Chronicle Series.
He had been promoted to the role of digital journalist, working on the Examiner website, in November, 2006. But just days into his new role, he became ill, suffering persistent colds and exhaustion.
He visited his doctor, who advised him to drink honey and lemon.
But after a week things were so bad that he drove himself from his home in High Green, Sheffield, to A&E at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital.
Doctors took blood samples and he was soon diagnosed with leukaemia.
Adrian started a blog to share his journey with Examiner readers and to educate people a little about leukaemia and its treatments.
Adrian was revealed to be suffering from two types of leukaemia simultaneously, acute myeloid leukaemia and chronic myeloid leukaemia. He is thought to have been the only person with such a condition.
This meant his leukaemia was difficult to treat. He had chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which rid him of the AML. But the CML remained and he was told he would need a bone marrow transplant.
He was lucky and a 30-year-old woman in Germany was found to be a tissue match after a search by the Anthony Nolan Trust charity, which keeps one of Britain’s two bone marrow registers.
Adrian had to have radiation therapy and then spend weeks in complete isolation while his immune system rebuilt itself.
The transplant seemed to be a success. But then Adrian found out he had developed chronic graft vs host disease as his body attacked his new bone marrow.
The disease has a variety of symptoms and for Adrian caused severe skin problems. He had various types of pioneering treatment, but faced a lifetime of problems with the condition.
Despite the problems in December, 2007, Adrian proposed to his long-term girlfriend, Poppy. But in April Adrian suffered a huge disappointment when Poppy called off the wedding.
In May he was delivered another blow when tests showed that his bone marrow transplant had not worked after all. Doctors told him he had just weeks to months to live.
Adrian chronicled his every up and down of his journey with searing honesty and described the medical experiences in a way that was easy for people to understand. His humorous style captured the attention of his blog readers and the blog also netted Adrian a clutch of awards.
It won him the Best Online Feature category of the Guild Of Health Writers’ Awards and later the Best Medical/Health Issues category in the world's biggest blog competition, the Weblog Awards. Adrian had 35% of the on-line poll and 700 votes more than his nearest rival.
In November last year the blog netted Adrian the title of Feature Writer of the Year at the Yorkshire Press Awards.
Just last month Adrian was nominated for a Yorkshire Young Achievers Award. He also received an award from the European School of Oncology. He was named multi-media journalist of the year in the Press Gazette Awards.
Adrian has also received several nominations for the Daily Mirror’s national Pride of Britain awards which will be held on Tuesday, September 30, in London.
As his condition worsened Adrian moved back to live with his parents. He devoted all his energy to his Sign Up For Sudders campaign, making trips to London to deal with media and meet Government ministers, despite his exhaustion.
He made one last big outing on July 23 to 10 Downing Street to deliver a 11,301-signature petition backing his bid to have young people educated about bone marrow donation.
Adrian suffered his low points - and shared them with his blog readers - but it was his ability to look on the positive side which made him popular with readers, colleagues and friends alike. He made sure his final weeks were fun-filled, enjoying a parties with friends who flocked to his parents' home in a never-ending stream of visits.
He still found time to keep his online readers up to date though and continued to post on the blog right up until his final days, despite having to sleep most of the time and being under heavy sedation.