Support Dying Man's Campaign Please!

THE Ely Standard s photographer Helen Drake was nominated for a regional press award, and the presentation was on Friday at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London. Unfortunately Helen did not win her category, but as the judges were at pains to point out, t

THE Ely Standard's photographer Helen Drake was nominated for a regional press award, and the presentation was on Friday at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London. Unfortunately Helen did not win her category, but as the judges were at pains to point out, the standard of entries this year was exceptional and anyone who was nominated should feel justifiable proud of themselves.

Many of our local groups, shops and committees, and certainly all the schools in the area, will know Helen and appreciate her patience and enthusiasm for the job. Being a local newspaper photographer is a tough call. Anyone who does the job for any length of time will probably end up with some kind of digestive disorder caused by years of eating on the run. It's a tough life and sometimes it gets lonely. Not everyone appreciates that when you work for the local press you probably don't have any more than 20 minutes to spend at each job. The journos back at the air conditioned office drinking their cappuccinos don't appreciate the distance you need to travel to get to each job and whenever they squeeze "just one more job" in the diary, it's always at the opposite end of the patch to the last one. Believe me, only the strong survive at local newspaper level and Helen is a credit to the profession and a great example of the determination the job demands. Helen didn't win on Friday, but we all feel immensely proud that she made the shortlist, and deservedly so.

I did have something else planned for this week's column, but decided instead to tell you instead about the reporter who won the Multimedia Journalist of the Year Award on Friday. He's not local, but I thought you may be interested in looking him up on the web and supporting his cause.

Adrian Sudbury is a reporter at the Huddersfield Daily Examiner and he writes a blog call Baldy's Blog. Unfortunately the title is not a dig at middle aged men, Adrian is 25 and has leukaemia. He was too poorly to attend the awards on Friday and his parents collected it, to a standing ovation, on his behalf.


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Adrian's blog makes difficult reading. Here is a young man in the prime of his life who has been struck down with a life-threatening disease, but his courage and determination to see through the pain and think of others is truly inspirational.

Adrian does vent his anger against a cruel disease; and at other times his sense of humour shines through, but he also has a much bigger agenda for his legacy. He wants all second-year sixth form students to be given a 40-minute talk on why it is important to donate blood, bone marrow and organs. The campaign was given a mention by Gordon Brown in the House of Commons and Adrian was interviewed by Sky News last Thursday, so lots of important people are beginning to sit up and take notice.

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Adrian firmly believes that if young impressionable adults are given the facts about blood, bone marrow and organ donation that many more of the next generation will go on to become donors. Germany has one of the best bone marrow registers in the world and this is probably a direct result of the fact that all sixth form students receive education on the subject. Adrian has weeks, possibly months to live, if you think signing his petition for sixth form students to receive education on this subject sounds like a good idea, then go to: www.baldblog.freshblogs.co.uk

If you don't agree, can't be bothered, don't have the time, then please, at least, take the time to read the following extracts from his blog and then decide...

"Just over a week ago I nearly took my own life. I am sorry to say it now but I have never felt so worthless and empty. Despite everything, there just seemed no point in carrying on."

"The leukaemia has reappeared in the bone marrow and I have only got weeks or months to live. In the end I decided to have no further intensive treatment."

"Poppy [his girlfriend] has called off the wedding. There was no big argument; I think there was just the slow realisation of what getting married to me means. I am utterly heartbroken."

"I can't beat this leukaemia, but I can make a difference, I'm making the most of every breath I have left. I am going down in style.

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