May 13, 2009

Richard Madely borrowed my pen......

By Kay Sudbury

Well, it's a cracker. What an amazing few weeks.

It isn't often you get to see Esther Ranzten, Claire from Steps, Mary Mary singing gospel and the above mentioned ( surprisingly handsome in real life girls ) together in one place. It was like one of those dreams you get after an ill advised late night cheese sandwich...

The interviews on BBC Breakfast time generated a whole new wave of interest and gave me the opportunity to continue Adie's well worn path towards complete media tarting. Kate Silverton and Bill Turnbull were absolutely lovely; well briefed and massively interested in Adrian's story.

In the green room I got chatting to a chap called Paul Whittaker - an incredibly talented doctor of music who is working to bring the experience of musicality to people who have impaired hearing. Profoundly deaf from birth himself, Paul has the benefit of a sign language expert , Andy Higgins. Now for the weird part of the story ( the Adrian effect is going strong folks ) As I explained what I was doing there at such an ungodly hour, Paul suddenly realised that he knew all about Adrian - he hails from Huddersfield and even used to sing in the church choir with one of Adie's colleagues. Small world eh? But it gets better. As Andy was signing " bone marrow donation" to Paul, he pointed to his hip. When he heard about the more usual method of donation, he changed the sign to point to the forearm instead! He has promised to spread the word/sign......

Since the training, presentations have been given in the 2 pilot areas; South Yorkshire and Bristol. Guess what? The lad was bang on the money when he said there are many myths and misconceptions about bone marrow donation. He got it right too, when he said that many more people would want to sign up if only they knew what was involved. There is a real hunger for knowledge out there and there is genuine surprise amongst students and staff that the procedure is actually quite straight forward.

This schools programme is going to be a huge success. Thank you to everyone who is taking part at the sharp end and those who are shouting support and urging the presenters on.

If any readers would like to train up but missed the March sessions, please make yourselves known on either this site or my Facebook site so that more sessions can be arranged at the start of the 09/10 academic year.

For many patients, the clock is ticking. I have no doubt that, with Adrian's legacy more donors will be found and lives will be saved. As Adie said - a simple solution to quite a difficult problem. Tell young people the facts and many more will make an informed choice. It is to their credit that for many of them, they will choose to give someone a second chance.

Thank you all for your continuing interest and enthusiasm. What is happening is wonderful.

The lad would be proud.

And yes, I got the pen back.

April 2, 2009

SOMETIMES WORDS ARE NOT ENOUGH.......


So how on earth do I tell people how brilliant it is to be part of this campaign? Over 3 weekends in March Keith and I have met some wonderful people - each and every one with a unique and powerful reason to put themselves in front of a bunch of complete strangers and tell them the facts about blood, bone marrow and organ donation. Just as Adrian wanted.

In addition there are those of you who have not been able to train this time around have nevertheless pledged to spread the word and talk to friends, work colleagues and people they happen to sit next to on the bus in order to raise awareness and dispel the myths.

Do please feel free to visit http://www.randb.org.uk/ where you will see the video made to take into schools and also the Calendar news report on the Sheffield event. The energy streams out at you. This campaign is turning into a fantastic reality and we are just so grateful for all the support you have given.

In one of his last interviews, Adrian said that he would like to be remembered as a good human being who tried to do the best he could in some pretty difficult circumstances. Well, there are many more good human beings out there and Keith and I are privileged to have met a lot of you through the work Adie started. The financial markets might be going to hell in a handcart, but whilst there are decent, committed people out there willing to do their bit to save lives, the world cannot be too bad a place. We are proud to stand alongside all of you in our little corner of this planet because, together we are a real force to be reckoned with and only good can come from our joint endeavours.
So, a heartfelt thank you to a bloody amazing bunch!

February 23, 2009

THIS ONE IS FOR YOU, AIMEE

We are on the brink of something very special

As I write this, the training script is being finalised, training dates have been set and the will to succeed is tangible. We are about to start the process which will, in all probability, change the world for the better. I cannot thank the Anthony Nolan Trust enough, nor the National Blood service who have combined their efforts to realise the dream of one seriously ill young man who, when the chips were down, settled his beanie hat, adjusted his Paul Smith dressing gown and set out to make a difference.

That you have all got behind Adrian’s campaign is such a fabulous testament to the determination of decent people to work for the good of humanity. As we debate the merits of huge bonuses to city bankers, isn’t it wonderfully refreshing to be part of something really important that will save lives?

And then we get Aimee’s news. Someone, somewhere in the world who, in all probability wasn’t ill when Adrian began his campaign is going to get their second chance because a young woman, inspired by what he had to say didn’t just sympathise but quietly got on with it and signed up to the ANT register. Truly our “one and only? and a bit of a trail blazer for Adrian’s Army. Aimee, you are a proper heroine. As are all those thousands out there who have put their names to this fantastic cause. Now I know you are bound to be daunted by what lies ahead but, to be honest, if you could see your way to having your progress charted on this Blog, I know it would help others as they debate with themselves what to do. I am more than happy to do all the spade work for you in terms of putting together the entries. If you could contact me at suddersmum@live.co.uk we can discuss how best to proceed but I also entirely understand if you simply want to get on with things and not be humbugged by having to report as well. Remember, Adrian’s driving philosophy was that noone was ever to be forced to do anything they were uncomfortable with and his whole campaign was to get information to people so that they can make a decision based on facts - so I am genuine when I say that you are not to feel under any pressure at all. If you feel you would like to document your particular stretch of the journey then I am here to do the grunt work for you.

Can we also send positive vibes to Claire’s Dad Norman and Adie’s Aunty Lucy both in a bit of a tight spot cancer wise at the moment. The more we can do to stop this pernicious disease claiming lives the better it will be for everyone.

And Dan, please don’t feel bad about surviving. I can’t claim to speak for others in my position of course but as far as I am concerned I can’t hear enough stories where there has been a positive outcome. Adrian always spoke about being a beacon of hope to those newly afflicted and that is precisely what you are. I am sorry that your battle scars have taken their toll emotionally and that you are having a rough time at the moment. Hopefully the pain will ease over time and your “one and only? will emerge from the shadows to claim your heart.

With love, thanks and best wishes to everyone out there
Kay


January 9, 2009

The Lad is still at it........

Like the Duracell bunny, this Blog just keeps on going.

Last year, Adrian won the best health Blog in the Weblog awards 2007. This year he has been nominated as a finalist in the best UK Blog section. Thank you to those who nominated him. He is way behind at the moment and there are some strong contenders but can we see how far we can get him this year?
For those of you who are curious about the finalists - here’s a quick resume.

Weblog2008.jpg

Young local journalist/web editor gets ill. Complex leukaemia. Starts Blog to describe and explain the disease and treatment. Bone marrow transplant is successful. Post transplant complications set in. Proposes on Christmas eve to long term girlfriend. She accepts. Wedding plans begin in earnest. Fiancee leaves him. Broken heart. Leukaemia comes screaming back. Terminal prognosis. Campaign begins to teach all 17/18 year olds about how simple it is to be a bone marrow donor. Huge petition presented to Downing Street. Support from Gordon Brown, Alan Johnson, Ed Balls. Many media appearances nationally to push campaign. Dies 20 August aged 27. Campaign continues…..and succeeds.

Let’s face it. This is a Blog which has changed lives and which will save lives. That will not change by the outcome of this poll. But it would be fun, wouldn’t it to see how far we can get? After all, where else will you find life and death issues jockeying for position with central characters like Chesney Hawkes and Sean Bean a dream sequence cameo appearance by the Queen intent on a full wedgie and a phone call from the Prime Minister half way through a showing of Mary Poppins?

Here’s the link to the Awards page. http://2008.weblogawards.org/polls/best-uk-blog/ Please support if possible and remember, you can vote once every 24 hours.
Thanks everyone.

Love Kay and Keith

December 17, 2008

THE ONE AND ONLY - IN PERSON!

chesney.jpg

No longer ones to shy away from the world of outrageous media tarting, how's this for some glorious celebrity schmoozing?!!
Keith and I went to Ascot last Sunday night to support " Chesney's Christmas Cracker " an annual charity event he does to raise funds for the Whitelodge centre which supports people with disabilities and their families. K K AND C.jpg


Watching a live performance of " The One and Only" was a strange mixture of enormous fun and profound sadness. I had simultaneous thoughts " What on earth am I doing here and why don't I have a son anymore?" and " Crikey this is good fun Adie would have a right good laugh at this". Grief is bloody odd. It is possible for joy and despair to inhabit the same fleeting moment, as many of you will know.

Any road up, apart from the shameless showing off, the reason for this post is to up date you on the campaign's progress. As I write, the ANT is finalising the proposal for the pilot project that will target 2 areas with the Sudders Seminar in the first instance so that a proper evaluation can be made and any alterations done to the material before a national roll out later on. It is not a difficult project to undertake as it only requires a straightforward factual 30/40 minute talk. I have a nagging, lurking concern that I want to share with you though.

When Adie had his lightbulb moment he imagined that his proposed talk could be bolted into a compulsory National Curriculum. This is not the case. It is true that Ed Balls and Alan Johnson wrote to all schools in September encouraging them to teach the Give and Let Live package to sixth formers as well as younger students. BUT evidence shows that schools have been slow to use that material and many remain unaware of it. The suggestion that we have a cohort of volunteers from Adrian's Army trained and available to deliver his message to 6th forms came out of the fear that schools might be too busy, lack resources or simply not want to teach the formal package and that by providing a free resource headteachers might be more receptive to the whole idea.

But how do we make sure we get a foot in the classroom door and avoid becoming the blood and bone marow equivalent of the Squeedgy Mop and Duster salesman? I am certain that once it gets going, Adrian's message will become firmly embedded in the education of our young adults. I have recently re-read the Blog postings from May June and July and the clarity of his thinking and his underlying passion just blows me away. We cannot allow his idea to fail. If any of you reading this have contacts with 6 forms please can you test the waters and if anybody comes up with a hot lead then, while the pilot is getting going, Keith and I will be more than happy to deliver he talk. That is a promise. It's the least we can do for our lad.

Those who know me will be aware that on momentous occasions I have a propensity to quote from the great works of literature. And so, in the immortal words of Ant and Dec " LET'S GET READY TO RUMBLE.....!"

November 22, 2008

A November Update for You

Those of you who read the Huddersfield examiner will already know that on Thursday 13 November the newspaper scored a hat trick of successes at the Yorkshire Press Awards 2008 . Katie Campling took top honours for the Campaign of the Year following the stunning impact of “ Sign up for Sudders “. Very much the unsung heroine, without her tireless efforts Adrian’s legacy would not have a fraction of its potency and we should all be grateful to her for her energy, inventiveness and dogged determination to see through what she and Adie began.

Adrian’s colleague Barry Gibson was named columnist of the year. A much deserved accolade for someone who Keith and I only got to know through Adrian’s illness but who, like so many other Examiner friends, took the ever increasing bad news about Adrian’s prognosis on the chin and never flinched from treating him with the same robust humour throughout his illness which Adie absolutely relished.
Keith and I were at the dinner in order to present the Feature Writer of the Year award which has now been renamed The Adrian Sudbury Feature Writer of the Year. Adie won last year and we were delighted to make the presentation this year to Nick Ahad of the Yorkshire Post , a talented young journalist who produced a fascinating portfolio of work and proved a worthy winner. Imagine our surprise therefore when Adrian was named Journalist of the Year. We were moved to tears by the reaction of his peers . What a wonderful way to mark what he achieved in the last 12 months of his life. We did detect a bit of Sudbury/Eckford mischief however. The Trainee journalist of the Year award went to one Adam Lovell of the Hull Daily Mail. Except that the commendation read out by Look North’s Claire Frisby referred to him as Adrian Lovell by mistake. Several times! Hmmmm. Surely a coincidence? Make up your own minds. I know what Keith and I thought about it - and boy did we enjoy a quiet chuckle together!

Previously, Keith and I met the legendary Chesney Hawkes for several beers after watching him perform on the Nottingham leg of “ Can’t Smile Without You “ a musical based around the music of Barry Manilow and very good it is too. Not only is Chesney a lovely, lovely man, he was bowled over by Adrian’s story and in particular the significance of “ The One and Only? to all Adie’s friends both at University and at Adie’s funeral and memorial service.

Also - and at this point you will realise that Keith and I have donned Adrian’s metaphorical basque and suspenders to continue his outrageous media tarting - we met up with a young man at the Yorkshire Young Achievers Awards night who has been in all the Harry Potter films playing Neville Longbottom. HP afficionados will know Matthew Lewis well and I am sure you will be delighted to hear that he is also keen to join the band of volunteers going into schools. How super is that? More news on the campaign will be coming shortly so watch this space…..

Right then. Now for a bit of “ Mad Mum “ whimsy I want to share with you to see if it could be a runner. For reasons too lengthy to go into, after the raffle at Carrie’s concert, Adie’s famous Paul Smith dressing gown found its way back to me. Adrian loved to travel and it occurred to me when I was on the outside of a significant quantity of a crisp and fruity Sancerre that it might be nice to send his dressing gown from Adrian’s Army member to Adrian’s Army member around Britain and perhaps then on to Europe, the USA and other countries where there are keen supporters of Adrian’s vision. Could we do it do you think? If everyone posted photos on Facebook, we could plot its travels and record its appearance at national monuments or whatever wacky situation appealed to the individual recipient. If anyone thinks it could work, email me on Facebook and we’ll get things started.
Looking forward to the balloon walk tomorrow and thinking as always about Graeme and Steph’s Mum and Dad.
Lots of Love
Kay

November 13, 2008

Balloon Walk in aid of Sign Up For Sudders

The Examiner is hosting a walk in memory of Adrian Sudbury on November 23 at 11am at Greenhead Park.

The idea is that people get sponsored or make a donation to do four laps of the park - roughly three miles - carrying a balloon in memory of Adrian or their own friends/loved ones.

The walk is being held on that date because it marks the end of the Anthony Nolan Trust Awareness Week.

The funds will go to the Examiner's Sign Up For Sudders community bank account and will be split equally between Leukaemia Research and the Anthony Nolan Trust.

We're asking people who followed Adrian's blog or campaign, who maybe don't live in Huddersfield, to hold their own walks on the same day, at the same time, for the same cause. But we hope to make the Huddersfield event a flagship one, so the more people we can get along, the better.

We really need all the support we can get to make this a success. So, if you can come along, please do. If you can't, spread the word and try to rally up some friends!

It's all for a good cause and will help give two great charities an early Christmas present.

Thanks,

Katie Campling

*For the Greenhead Park walk, register by calling Katie Campling on 01484 437764 or emailing katie.campling@examiner.co.uk

Walkers should meet at the park cafe (near the tennis courts) at 10.30am for an 11am start. Examiner staff will be in their marquee, handing out balloons and taking donations. Information about the Anthony Nolan Trust and bone marrow donation will be on offer there too.

*People wanting to hold walks in other areas can get more information or order Sign Up For Sudders balloons by contacting Katie Campling on the details above.

October 20, 2008

Charity show in memory of Sudders

Hi Everyone,

Just wanted to raise your attention to this concert at the London Paladium, this Sunday being held to raise money for the Anthony Nolan Trust and being held in memory of Adrian

STARS of stage and screen will perform a high-profile charity show at the London Palladium in memory of Adrian Sudbury.

The show on Sunday October 26 has been organised by John Sheerman, the actor son of Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman.

He will direct the production of Me And My Girl, which is being put together in a daring 48 hours.

Click here to find out more

Should be a good night, if you are able to attend I hope you enjoy it,

Liam

October 15, 2008

Watching Adrian's Memorial Service Link - UPDATE

For anyone who was unable to view Adrian's memorial service, or wishes to do so again the Examiner has made a video of the service which you can see below

http://www.examiner.co.uk/videos-pics/videos/2008/10/16/adrian-sudbury-memorial-service-86081-22053609/


PEOPLE from across the world will be able watch a special memorial service for Examiner journalist Adrian Sudbury tomorrow.

The service, at Sheffield’s historic cathedral, will be broadcast live on www.examiner.co.uk with help from the BBC.

It is a response to public feeling and the sheer number of people Adrian, 27, inspired.

It’s believed this is the first time in the UK a newspaper has been able to provide such a broadcast.

The service, which starts at 2pm, will celebrate the life of Adrian who died on August 20 after an 18-month fight with leukaemia.

He dedicated his final months to his Sign Up For Sudders campaign to raise awareness about bone marrow donation.

It also called on the Government to provide better education about bone marrow donation in schools and colleges – especially to 17- and 18-year-olds.

The Government has written to every UK school and college, asking them to use an online Give And Let Live teaching resource.

The memorial service will be attended by people who supported Sign Up For Sudders, as well as Adrian’s friends, family and colleagues.

Also expected to attend are readers of Adrian’s award-winning online diary, Baldy’s Blog, where he chronicled the ups and downs of living with leukaemia.

The service will feature a pre-prepared message from Adrian himself, video tributes from the media and colleagues, speeches from his family, friends and Colne Valley MP Kali Mountford, who helped with Adrian’s campaign.

Sheffield-born star Sean Bean will also be at the event, reading an extract from the poem On Death by Khalil Gibran.

The Hollywood actor met Adrian when they were supporting a fundraising appeal at Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield.

l Anyone who would like to attend the service should email rsvpadrian@trinitymirror.com or call 01484 437707 and leave a message.

For directions to the cathedral, visit www.sheffield-cathedral.co.uk

An Update for You

Yesterday, Keith went to Westminster for a meeting with Ed Balls ( Secretary of State for Children Schools and Families ), representatives of the Anthony Nolan Trust and Kali Mountford MP who tirelessly supported Adrian in his campaigning efforts.

He wanted to thank Ed Balls and Alan Johnson ( Secretary of State for Health ) for writing to schools on a joint basis and for updating the Live and Let Live campaign to include materials suitable for the 17 and 18 age groups.

This is an excellent start. But it is just the start and there is more yet to do.

Let's face it. Some heads may ignore the letter completely. Others will have welcomed the material and have in place the mechanism to deliver Adrian's very important message. There will be others who want to run the Sudders Seminar but may not have the resources to do so. It is the latter group where we intend to focus initially and that is where you, the amazing Adrian's Army volunteers will be able to help.

The government have been asked to provide initial funding so that volunteers can be properly trained to go into schools and colleges to give the all important 40 minute talk. This is so that crucial funds do not have to be diverted away from the vital work carried out by the Anthony Nolan Trust. The aim is to provide a punchy, emotive and informative video including footage of Adie, sufficient training to allow volunteers to speak with accuracy and in depth about the procedures and to answer follow up questions and a simple explanatory leaflet about " What to do next ". We should have their response in 3 weeks or so.

The project will be piloted in 4 different parts of the country to begin with so that the materials and their impact can be evaluated properly and then the aim is to roll out the volunteer programme across the country as soon as possible.

Keith left London in optimistic mood. We will let you know as soon as we have the answer. Meanwhile, remember that there is a link on the Anthony Nolan Trust website where people can sign up as volunteers and there is also a questionnaire to complete that will help to determine the wheres and whens of the training programme.

It is a pity that there is no element of compulsion attached to that part of the National Curriculum that can force headteachers to carry out Adrian's dying wish. We could spend years lobbying to change the statutory basis of senior education or we can take a leaf out of Adie's book and get stuck in to providing a simple solution to quite a difficult problem in a straightforward and pragmatic way.

Have a look at the Examiner website for news of the live broadcast of the Memorial Service tomorrow. It's a fantastic tribute to Adrian that his special service will be shown on the very site he loves so much.

The spam is a bit troublesome I am afraid. Beyond my skills but Liam will be rooting it out soon.

Love to all
Kay