Apologies again to everyone who has had problems logging into the blog or posting comments.
There have been lots of issues behind the scenes but hey - we're only the biggest media group in the UK. Professionally it is quite embarrassing and I can only say sorry for any frustrations experienced by people who have tried to post.
This post is about updating you all about the campaign and giving you all a rough draft of where everything is going.
I am also hoping everything on the technical side is fixed because we continue to welcome all your ideas and input.
If you are unable to post please send a brief email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Your contributions, and desire to see this through, have been remarkable so on behalf of everyone at the Huddersfield Examiner, reporter Katie Campling and me, thank you very much.
I should start off with the petition.
What a great result. It closes on Wednesday and we have set ourselves the target of 10,000.
At the time of writing it stood at just over 9,300 - we are going to come incredibly close!
The 10,000 figure means it would be in the top ten of most popular national campaigns on the Downing Street website.
We achieved this in an incredibly short space of time.
Still chuffed we are beating the get Bruce Forsyth knighted campaign.
The next bit of good news is we have finally got something in writing that resource material about blood, bone marrow and organ donation, will be sent out to all sixth form schools and colleges this year.
This is the official written question posed by Kali Mountford MP and the written response from education minister Jim Knight.
Warning: The response is very boring.
But after speaking more thoroughly with Kali Mountford, Katie Campling was able to break it down into more pleasing bullet points.
Kali Mountford: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what plans he has to make materials available to schools and colleges for 16 to 18-year-olds on registering for bone marrow donation; and when he expects these materials to be included in the national curriculum.
Jim Knight: There is a variety of opportunities for young people to learn about bone marrow donation within the curriculum through PSHE, citizenship and science. In science, young people explore how health is affected by diet, drugs, disease and medical treatments and they are also given opportunities to use real life examples when finding out about science. Through PSHE and citizenship, young people are encouraged to make real choices and decisions and take informed action.
The Department is working closely with NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) to improve the accessibility and emphasise the curriculum opportunities on their 'Give and Let Live' website. The site will be re-launched in September 2008, and includes facts and information on bone marrow donation. The Secretary of State for Health and Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families will write jointly to schools and colleges in September, highlighting how donation can be taught within the curriculum and referring to the revised Give and Let Live resource.
- They have listened to us and revised the Give And Let Live packs and website to be more suitable for pupils up to 18.
- The revisions have been done in conjunction with NHS Blood and Transplant, which was involved in creating the Give And Let Live packs.
- The packs and website will be launched in September and sent to all schools and colleges in the UK.
- They will go out with a letter from Ed Balls and Alan Johnson asking them to deliver it to pupils aged up to 18.
- The letter also contains suggestions on how they might fit it into their curriculum - for example, the medical side in science, the moral/personal decision side in Personal Health and Social Education or Citizenship. There'll be flexibility on how they choose to do it, they can have an assembly if they want.
On the back of this Kali Mountford said: âI 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, I am sure this is what the Government intends but I do not intend to rest on my laurels, having started my involvement with this and realising there are many other question to be answered if we raise expectation and interest in bone marrow donation we now have to make it easier for people to donate.
"Just as Anthony Nolan's family was an inspiration for a generation in the 1970's Adrian has opened our eyes at what more should be done now.â?
The initial objective was to make this talk compulsory.
This was not as easy as first envisaged. Colleges enjoy their independence from Government and don't like being dictated to.
Many of them don't have assemblies so don't necessarily have a platform in which to deliver a straight forward talk.
It may be easier in the coming years, when young people have to stay in education until they are 18.
There is lots of good will out there and the Government are providing resources and information on how these talks can be fitted in with the schemes/lessons that colleges already provide - specifically for 17/18 year-olds.
Revised objective: How do we ensure as many 6th form schools and colleges deliver this talk in some way that suits them? How do we ensure this is done on an annual basis?
- Working from the top down. We can all write to our MPs in summer 2009 to ensure a new pack and letter is sent out to all 6th form centres.
- Working from the bottom up. Organisations like the Anthony Nolan Trust, Leukaemia Research, the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust, the National Blood Service, Marrow groups, could work together more closely.
- They could target colleges and remind them how important this talk is. They could provide speakers, resources and maybe work with individual college schemes that already exist.
- Again, these groups could help keep the pressure on making it an annual event.
- There is no point writing to colleges now because they are on the brink of breaking up. Maybe towards the end of August we could have a stock letter on the blog that you can print out and send to your local college/6th form heads, encouraging them to run the talk this year. Perhaps you could all do the same next year?
- When I shuffle off the blog will keep going but a lot of people think it would be useful if there was another way all of you could keep in touch and make sure this really happens. Through the blog we could set up a forum or a group mailing list. What does everyone think about this? We would really welcome your feedback.
- On the wider issue of the public health campaign, Kali is still pushing the Government for more on the video.
A big part of the film has to show people something like this - click here - dispelling the myths about bone marrow donation being an awful procedure.
She also wants to give people better access to clinics or make it easier for them to donate. Maybe this is something that the National Blood Service can help with.
Next time you give blood they could do more to advertise how easy it is to join their register.
The momentum behind this project is incredible and time is still on our side. This is just a list of ideas and nothing is set in stone.
I love how much this has all come to mean to you too and I know with your support this is going to come off and we are going to change things for the better in this country.
Hopefully, lives are going to be saved because of all our work and efforts.
Please get in touch, let us know what you think and if you have any more suggestions then just keep them coming in.
If anyone has any hard copies of the petition could you post them over to the Huddersfield Examiner office on Monday at the latest? The address is Katie Campling, Bone Marrow Petitions, Huddersfield Examiner, Queen Street South, Huddersfield, HD1 2TD