August 21, 2008

Tributes Pour in for Cancer Campaigner ; Battle Will Go on in Schools


ADRIAN SUDBURY, the former University of Liverpool student who bravely campaigned to boost the number of British bone marrow donors, has passed away.

The Nottingham-born journalist died a month after his 27th birthday with his family at his bedside in the early hours of yesterday morning.

His award-winning Baldy's Blog, which he used to document his own battle against the rare form of leukaemia he contracted and as a rallying call for more donors, has been flooded with tributes.

Last night, his father, Keith, 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. My wife, Kay, and I hope that all Adrian's good work will be continued by all those who knew and loved him."

The Huddersfield Examiner reporter had very close ties to Liverpool: he lived just off Smithdown Road while studying at the university between 1999 and 2002 when he qualified with a 2:1 in Physiology.

In May this year, knowing he had only weeks left to live, he told the Daily Post: "I love Liverpool, it's fantastic and I get back as much as I can. I've loads of friends there."

He added: "I have had 18 months of this. I knew the risk involved so whatever happened to me, good or bad, I resolved I was going to raise awareness as much as possible so others could have better chance of survival. It seems to be working."

He was speaking after a meeting with Prime Minister Gordon Brown in 10 Downing Street to plead for a national campaign in schools to educate young people about registering as donors.

"The biggest misconception about being a donor is that it involves a lot of pain, when in reality it's not dissimilar to having a blood transfusion," he said.

On July 23, he returned to Downing Street to deliver an 11,301- signature petition backing his bid.

His legacy is that Mr Brown, Health Secretary Alan Johnson and Education Secretary Ed Balls have pledged their personal support.

Subsequently, 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.

And, just a week before his death, both the PM and Mr Balls rang Adrian at home to say how inspirational his campaign had been, and that various celebrities had been contacted asking them to participate in a video to boost the bone marrow appeal.

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