THE father of late Examiner journalist Adrian Sudbury, who died after a battle with leukaemia, is today calling for a donation law.
Keith Sudbury wants to ensure students aged over 16 are made more aware of the facts regarding donating blood, organs and stem cells to save more lives.
And his call for greater awareness has been backed by blood cancer charity, Anthony Nolan, who say ‘Adrian’s Law’ would ensure every school gave at least one session on becoming a donor to students aged 16 or over.
Adrian, known as Sudders, died in 2008 aged just 27. He was a digital reporter for the Examiner and chronicled his battle with the disease through his Baldy’s Blog.
Before he died in August 2008 he took his fight for greater education right to the heart of the government, meeting the then Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
His parents Keith and Kay Sudbury have continued to highlight the need for blood and stem cell donors ever since and have worked closely with Anthony Nolan, the charity which supported Adrian in his quest to develop a programme for schools – all while battling the leukaemia.
The charity, together with those closest to Sudders, developed a school’s education programme called R&Be – Register and a Be a Lifesaver.
Keith, who speaks to students as part of the R&Be programme said: “What’s happened in the last three years has been phenomenal, Adrian would be very proud of it.
“Adrian’s wish was to make it compulsory but he didn’t know that there couldn’t be a compulsory sixth form curriculum. We are going back to the government to ask them to make this happen.
“We urgently need more people willing to donate blood and stem cells to prevent more deaths like Adrian’s.
“By taking this message to students aged 16 years and over in schools we can grow the first generation of potential lifesavers who really understand what it means to donate blood, organs and stem cells.”
The R&Be programme has reached out to 60,000 students so far and Keith says they have one aim – to give students the facts.
“We are simply there to give them the facts about blood, stem cell and organ donation so that they can make an informed choice,” Keith adds.
“We are finding that our presentations are very powerful and that students become engaged and we have been surprised by how many students have gone on to sign up.
“We’ve also had many of the teachers telling us ‘we learnt a lot as well’.
“So you can imagine that if we could reach out to every student and give them the facts too, then they might make a huge difference.”
Although Adrian received a transplant, he sadly died when he was 27. He spent the last two years of his life campaigning for better education about stem cell donation, taking a petition of 11,000 signatures to Downing Street and meeting Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
To date the R&Be volunteers have given presentations to around 58,000 people, but if Sudders’ family and Antony Nolan are successful in securing an Adrian’s Law around 700,000 sixth form students a year would receive information about blood, stem cell and organ donation.
Henny Braund, Anthony Nolan Chief Executive, said it would undoubtedly save lives, adding: “Adrian’s Law will help young people grow into potential lifesavers.
“This is not the hard sell but arming 16-year-olds with the facts they need to make an informed choice about donating; a habit they will take into adulthood.”