THE message that better education about bone marrow donation is needed will go global tonight when Examiner reporter Adrian Sudbury takes his campaign to an audience of more than one hundred million.
Brave leukaemia sufferer Adrian, who has just weeks to live, will be giving an interview to Al Jazeera TV, which has a potential audience of up to 170m people.
During the live interview, which will be broadcast at 8pm UK time, Adrian will be talking about his inspirational campaign to help the thousands of people waiting for a bone marrow transplant by changing education policy to teach students about the issue of bone marrow donation.
Adrian, 26, will be driven to a studio in Leeds, where he will be linked up live to a studio in Washington for an interview with the head of the American donor register.
Adrian said: “The producer told me that Al Jazeera TV goes out everywhere – to America, Western Europe, the Middle East and South East Asia– and the audience they get is 140m to 170m!
“I will be talking about the issues in the UK, the misconceptions and the fact that nobody seems to understand the procedure of bone marrow donation.
“This is a real international effort as all the donation databases are linked up around the world. I want to reiterate the message that if people become bone marrow donors they could be saving someone’s life, not only in the UK but also around the world.”
Adrian has battled leukaemia for the past 18 months and underwent a bone marrow transplant as part of his fight against the disease.
It failed, and Adrian sadly has just weeks to live, but he is determined to spend what time he has left highlighting the desperate need for more people to sign up as bone marrow donors.
Adrian’s latest interview shows just how much the profile of his campaign has spiralled since it was launched in the Examiner just a week ago today.
Since the launch, his inspirational story of courage and determination has received both national and international exposure and he has won legions of supporters who have posted heartfelt messages of support on his award-winning blog, found at http://baldyblog.freshblogs.co.uk
He has also taken his campaign to Parliament and secured the backing of Health Secretary Alan Johnson and Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families. Adrian also won the support of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who suggested making an educational video to be shown to schools and colleges and launching a national TV campaign.
Speaking from his home in Sheffield, Adrian said that he has been overwhelmed by the huge level of support that everyone has given him and pleased that his campaign looks set to make a massive difference.
He said: “The response has been incredible. I always intended to do a campaign eventually and I knew that I could do a lot with the contacts I had; but I didn’t expect it to snowball quite like this – the last week has been really hectic.
“My blog has also had an incredible response – at the start of last week there were 1,000 comments on there and just four days later that doubled to 2,000. Messages from well-wishers have come from all over the globe and I really appreciate all of them.”
The Examiner has also lodged a petition on the Downing Street website, asking the Government to require colleges and sixth forms to educate students about bone marrow donation. People can sign the petition by typing http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/bone-marrow into their web browsers
The petition, which has to have 200 signatures to be lodged with the Prime Minister’s Office, yesterday had 380 signatures. Adrian is hoping that the word about the petition will now be spread online and that many more people will sign up.
After a hectic week last week, Adrian – who had a blood transfusion a few days ago to boost his health – aims to spend quality time with his family and friends this week, although he may fit in the odd radio interview here and there to keep up the pace of his campaign.
Adrian added: “I thought the campaign would be a success but never on a scale like this. I am really confident that this it will come off and really make a lasting difference.
“People have really got behind it and the support has been amazing – I am really grateful, it means a lot to me.”
l For more information on how to become a bone marrow donor, visit www.anthonynolan.org.uk