BURTON’S MP has highlighted the impact made by the Mail’s Take Five Minutes campaign in Parliament as he made an impassioned plea for ministers to do more encourage new donors to come forward.
Andrew Griffiths stopped short of saying England should adopt the opt-out donor system, which will come into force in Wales next year, during a debate on the issue led by the town’s Parliamentarian in Westminster yesterday, but was adamant that more needed to be done.
The Tory MP said Katherine Sinfield’s battle with leukaemia and subsequent hunt for a bone marrow donor, which saw the Mail launch its Take Five Minutes campaign a year ago to encourage more donors to come forward, was partly behind his decision to call for change.
Katherine was successful in finding a donor last September, with the campaign continuing to run alongside daily updates of her recovery process ever since.
Mr Griffiths said the Mail had done a ‘huge amount’ to raise awareness of the issue.
The debate became heated at times, with Mr Griffiths’ comments provoking a prickly response from Welsh MP Glyn Davies, who is unhappy with the decision of his homeland to introduce the opt-out system from December 2015.
The Mail revealed in December that 10 people in Burton and South Derbyshire died while waiting for a donor and Mr Griffiths said people will continue to die unless something is done to encourage more donors to come forward.
He told his fellow politicians: “The reality is that in Britain today, some 7,000 people are currently on the waiting list for an organ transplant. Right now, they are at home, ill, waiting for the phone to ring, waiting for the hospital to call, waiting for the chance of a new life.
“Their lives depend on that phone call and on that organ being made available.”
He said donor numbers were ‘pitifully low’ and an advertising campaign similar to one which enjoyed success in Scotland would be a good starting point.
“I believe that we should have a simple, hard-hitting campaign just like that in England and Wales,” he said.
MP’S PRAISE FOR MAIL DONOR CAMPAIGN
LAST July, the Mail launched a campaign in a bid to save the life of 33-year-old Katherine Sinfield, of Balfour Street, Burton.
Diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML), she was told the only way she would live is that if she secured a bone marrow transplant.
The Mail asked readers to spare five minutes to donate blood and bone marrow. Thankfully, two months later a donor was found.
Burton’s MP Andrew Griffiths yesterday paid tribute to the Mail’s efforts in the Commons.
He said: “Through the Burton Mail’s campaign, I have seen the difference that raising awareness can make. The work of the Burton Mail and the Anthony Nolan Trust has resulted in a large increase in the number of Burton residents who have come forward.
“If we can encourage similar activity across the country, we can all play our part in raising awareness.”