CAMPAIGNING journalist Adrian Sudbury received a special present on his 27th birthday this week – seeing his fight to improve education about bone marrow donation take a major leap forward.

Examiner journalist Adrian, who is dying from leukaemia, learnt on Wednesday that all schools and colleges will be asked to deliver talks on bone marrow, blood and organ donation to pupils aged up to 18 from September.

The pledge came from Minister of State for Schools and Learners Jim Knight, in response to a written Parliamentary question from Colne Valley MP Kali Mountford.

Adrian is spending his last weeks raising awareness of the need for more bone marrow donors to help the 16,000 awaiting a transplant.

He also asked the Government to ensure young people aged up to 18 are educated about bone marrow, blood and organ donation.

He has already received support for this idea from Mr Knight’s boss – Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families Ed Balls – and from Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Health Secretary Alan Johnson.

Mr Balls said: “On Adrian’s birthday, I just wanted to renew my pledge that we will do all we can in Government to back Adrian’s aim to educate all young people on the need for bone marrow donation.

“You have only to read Adrian’s blog to see how passionate he is and how he has a sense of mission about this idea. His campaign has been courageous and inspiring and I will continue to do all I can to back Adrian’s mission.”

Mr Knight revealed Mr Balls and Mr Johnson will jointly write to all schools and colleges in September, asking them to deliver Give And Let Live talks to pupils aged up to 18.

Give And Let Live is an education scheme about blood, bone marrow and organ donation developed by the Government and the NHS Blood and Transplant service.

It was designed initially for 14 to 16-year-olds but, in response to Adrian’s campaign, the materials have been revised to suit older pupils.

The Give And Let Live website will be relaunched in September to coincide with the packs reaching schools.

The letters from Mr Balls and Mr Johnson will suggest ways schools and colleges can deliver education about donation to pupils – including through science, PSHE and Citizenship lessons.

Adrian said the Government’s plan was a major step forward, but schools and colleges are not yet obliged to deliver the Give And Let Live programme – so his next step will be to push for compulsory education about donation for pupils aged up to 18.

He said: “I think this is an excellent first step. Understanding more now about how difficult it is to make the talk about blood, bone marrow and organ donation ‘compulsory’, these look like genuine and committed efforts to encourage as many schools, sixth forms and colleges to educate their young adults about these life-saving issues.”

It is currently difficult to make donation education compulsory for 16 to 18-year-olds, as the Government has little control over colleges.

But next September the school leaving age rises to 18, meaning the Government will have more sway.

Adrian said: “If making it compulsory is not possible – or indeed what the colleges want – we then need to think about how we can encourage as many of them as we can to continue the talk annually.

“I am struggling with a stomach bug at the moment and my energy levels are fading, but I am determined to see this through and confident, working together, we can make my dying wish a reality.

“My blog and campaign also has a huge global following now who are all determined to make this happen.”

MP Kali Mountford said she will continue to back Adrian’s campaign to the next stage.

She said: “I am really pleased that Adrian is getting a birthday present of achieving what he set out to do on the national curriculum. But what we have to do is to make sure that this goes on for every year.”

A petition in support of Adrian’s campaign on the Downing Street website at also has more than 8,600 signatures. Adrian aims to get 10,000 by its closing date on July 23.

To find out more about Adrian and his campaign, visit his blog at

For details on donation, visit, or call 0845 7 711 711.