Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Gifts of Life Photo Project...

Although the project name is similar this is unrelated to my campaign... I just think it is a great idea and thought this blog would be a great way of getting the word out there!

Gifts of Life is an exciting new photographic project by Sarah Milne in partnership with the national organ donation awareness charity 'Live Life Then Give Life'.

The work captures people who are waiting for or who have received a gift of life in the form of a transplant. It also explores the impact on those left behind when someone, sadly, does not receive their gift in time to save their life. Sarah is Mum to William who, at the age of four, received a small bowel transplant in November 2008.

The work will be exhibited in the Menier Gallery, London from December 14th - 19th 2009 before going on tour around the UK in 2010 Please keep revisiting this site and the blog for the latest news.

Gifts of Life also incorporates a set of photos by the photographer Holly Cocker, another photographer (and one of Holly's Helpers) who received her gift of a kidney from best friend Oli. Holly was diagnosed with ESRF (end stage renal failure) in 2003, and waited five long years on the transplant list for a new kidney before Oli came forward and in a pure act of selflessness donated his kidney to her in October 2008. Holly will be doing a series of portraits of live donors and their recipients to capture the extraordinary relationship and strong bond that exists between them.

I am going to be getting involved in the project myself by having my picture taken by Sarah and hopefully will get a chance to visit the gallery and see the exhibition.

So if you want to get involved too, there are several ways you can:

Have you received a transplant and would be willing to be photographed?
Do you know of any venues that would be able to hold an exhibition?
Or could you promote the project/exhibition?

Then get in touch with Holly and Sarah at the website here or check out the latest news on the project on its blog.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

So this week I had a couple of telephone interviews...

One was for a voluntary magazine called Engage, they basically wanted to know all about my campaign and how I used new media to promote it. They want me to be on the front cover too!

So if you don't know already I thought I would pass on all my social networking links here:

The Gift of Life Website
Battlefront Page
Facebook Group

These were all great ways of getting the word out there about Donor Day and encouraged many people to donate their status's to the campaign and change their profile pics!

Lucy at Engage was also interested in how I wanted to carry on with my campaign... the thought hadn't even crossed my mind as I was busy concentrating on my dissertation!
Obviously I want the campaign to continue, I want to keep spreading the word and it is something I feel passionate about! She was wondering if I wanted to turn it into a charity... It is something I will have to think about and consider in the future... is it a lot to handle on my own? (I know I have great support from Volunteers and LLTGL) Would it be better as a campaign or a charity? What are the implications? Lots of questions and lots of thinking to do....

The other interview was with a man from my university discussing the prize (that I nominated myself for, after some persuasion) He again just wanted to know about the campaign and how it came about, but focusing more on what skills I have learnt and how this will transfer to my career in the future! I will know If I have won the prize in the next few weeks... I'll keep you updated!

Wednesday, 22 April 2009


I have been asked to write about my time working on the Battlefront Project, easier said than done. I have done so many great things, met so many amazing people and feel like I have achieved a lot. It has been the best experience of my life there have been tears and laughter and I have learnt lots about Organ Donation as well as myself!

The skills I have learnt...

  • Confidence
  • Better Communication
  • Management and Organisation skills
  • Giving speeches and presenting
  • How to write a press release/diary note/photocall notice
  • To liase with the Media and do interviews
The Highlights of the campaign so far...
  • Winning the competition
  • Meeting my mentors Oli Barrett and Amy Maclaren (inspirational people)
  • Going up and down to London and spending time with Emily T
  • Having the support of Holly's Helpers
  • Meeting Jess Wales
  • Interviewing the surgeon who performed my transplant
  • Writing to Gordon Brown and receiving a letter from his secretary in reply
  • Meeting my fellow Battlefront campaigners
  • Speaking in front of Rt Hon Ed Balls
  • Having the support of Celebrities - Alexandra Burke, Nina Wadia and Connie Fisher
  • Working with the design company Dave - who came up with 2 minute hero's (Be a hero, Put the Kettle on!)
  • Having a successful photo call with support from Holly's Helpers, Melissa Bell and Fay Ripley
  • Putting on my Donor Day and getting thousands of sign-ups to the NHS Organ Donor Register
  • The metro changing their masthead in support of Donor Day
  • Being on GMTV
  • Doing various radio interviews and appearing in various newspapers
  • Getting words of support from Gordon Brown on the number 10 website, here:
  • The Prime Minister asking to meet me!
  • My Campaign being the second most re-tweeted tweet in the world on April 7th!
When I write it like that I don't know how I managed to fit it all in, not forgetting clinic appointments, university lectures as well as the assignments including the dissertation!

So what next I hear you say?

  • A little break to finish my dissertation and my final assignment
  • My first birthday celebration post-transplant (there may be a few alcoholic bevarages being consumed!)
  • A front cover and interview with voluntary magazine - Engage
  • Hopefully an article in the next Kidney Life magazine
  • An interview for the McCormick prize at university
  • Hopefully continuing my work with Oli Barrett and Amy Maclaren
  • Continue working with Emily and Holly's Helpers
  • Hopefully Recruiting more Holly's Helpers
  • Keep spreading the word about Organ Donation
  • Utilising Social Networking sites
  • Keeping my website up to date with all the latest developments! (
  • Maybe getting a viral game/video out in the world wide web to promote Organ Donation among young people
  • Collecting lots of experiences of Organ Donation - a particular area I want to explore is a Donor Family perspective
  • Planning the next big event/stunt that will hopefully be as successful as Donor Day

Not forgetting that all this would not have been possible pre-transplant, it is thanks to my amazing donor and their family that I am able to do this, hopefully I will make them proud.

I am also doing it for the people that have sadly lost their fight because their wait was too long and to give hope to the 8000 people that are currently on the waiting list for a transplant.

Click on the link below to see montage of my Battlefront journey and why I am going to keep campaigning, I think it says it all....

View this montage created at One True Media
My Battlefront Journey!

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

My Pitch to Rt Hon Ed Balls MP

I am 21 years old and this year underwent a successful kidney transplant. Today in Britain, over 7,500 people are waiting for an organ donor. 1000 will die next year. Although 90% of Brits support organ donation, just 25% have signed the Organ Donor Register. One of the keys to solving this is through the education of the children and young people of Britain.

The Gift of Life campaign will encourage people to think and talk about Organ Donation. Through education, the campaign will raise awareness of Organ Donation, dispel common myths and encourage more people to sign up to the Organ Donor Register: potentially saving and transforming lives. (
As part of my campaign I created a national awareness day, Donor Day, on Tuesday 7th April. It was a great success and I have been informed by NHS Blood and Transplant that on that particular day 15 times more people than normal signed up to the donor register. I also received the backing of the Prime Minister and have been invited to meet with him. (

If I ( along with the help of volunteers, the Live Life Then Give Life charity and my mentors) was able to do this in one day with a small budget, imagine what might be possible with more young people involved?

I know that you and the Department for Children Schools and Families have been involved with getting the Give and Let Live project into schools and have sent letters out to schools about this project. However I know that 250 schools were contacted for a telephone interview, and of these, 63% had no record or recollection of the letter being received. Of the 28% who were aware of the letter every single one (100%) had decided NOT to implement the government's education programme in their school.
What I think needs to happen...

•There needs to be more Education and awareness of Organ Donation as a whole.

•The programme needs to be taught in schools for example during citizenship or Personal and Social Education, via the Give and Let Live project or a speaker’s project.

•More funding is required to advertise Organ Donation – perhaps on similar lines to the advertisements for the donation of blood.

•More funding is required in the area of Organ Donation and a better use of resources is needed so that more transplants take place – i.e more donor coordinators should be employed throughout the country.

•The UK Transplant website needs upgrading so it is more user friendly and attractive to younger people. Both cosmetic changes and other changes need to be made so that it is easier to sign up and to pass on the message to others to encourage them to sign up too.

•The power of the web and of peer-to-peer recommendation needs to be harnessed and we have offers from leading technologists to help explore this.

I have received the support of organ donors and recipients, the national media, celebrities and even the Prime Minister. My goal is to work alongside DCSF to get Britain’s children and young people engaged in this important subject.

I would be happy to meet with one of your team at any time to discuss these ideas further.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Thank you!

Just a quick blog to say thank you for your continued support not only for me but for the campaign itself, it is much appreciated.

A few of my friends both pre and post transplant are having a rough time at the minute so I am thinking of them lots and this inspires me even more to keep going with the campaign and taking it forward.

Still working hard on this dissertation as well as my pitch for Ed Balls which I am getting some advice on before I send it off.

I am also filling out an application for a prize at university, I have been asked to fill it in by the volunteering service... I am still not 100% sure that I am going to send it off as I feel a bit embarrassed/uncomfortable putting myself forward for it. I didn't start the campaign up to get recognition.... I do it because I want to help over 8000 people on the transplant waiting list receive a second chance at life like I have done.

So Sign Up, Spread the Word and Save Lives!

Sunday, 12 April 2009

More pictures...

To see some more pictures of the Photo Call, Donor Day and the Drinks Reception: CLICK HERE

I'll leave you with a few of my favourites....

Me and Emily at the Flagship Donor Desk in Canary Wharf

Me and the PR superstar Amy MacLaren

Me and Matt Coyne (LLTGL Trustee) - Notice I am stood on a stool!!!!

Me and the Lovely Emily and Adam

My Mentor and true Gentleman - Oli Barrett!

Adam reading about me in the Metro!

Oli and Holly! (Yes another set of Oli and Holly)

Me after a very looooong day!

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Post Donor Day Press Release

Donor Day praised by PM as Holly’s two-minute heroes campaign signs up thousands

An inspirational young campaigner was celebrating today after her efforts were praised by the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. Holly Shaw, a 21-year-old kidney transplant patient created a national awareness day, Donor Day, on Tuesday 7 April, as part of her ongoing campaign The Gift of Life, which aims to raise awareness of the shortage of organ donors in the UK.

In a statement on the No 10 website, the Prime Minister said:

“I want to give my support and thanks to Holly Shaw and all those involved in her campaign. Joining the organ donation register is a selfless act of kindness which can save many lives and offer new hope for potentially thousands of families across the country.”

Despite the vast majority of Brits supporting organ donation, just 23% have signed the register. Holly’s campaign aims to make it easier to sign up and spread the word. Donor Day was built around asking people to go online and sign the Organ Donor Register and then promote the fact they had done so via their social networking status. In addition, Holly coordinated an army of volunteers to man Donor Desks up and down the country - to talk to people about organ donation and encourage them to sign a registration form.

The registration forms are now being collated, website hits and text sign ups counted – but all early indications point to a terrific spike of activity, with in people joining the Register in their thousands.

On Tuesday afternoon, the campaign had become the second most re-tweeted tweet on Twitter. By 5pm, there had been over 3,200 online registrations via – more than 15 times the average daily registration rate. There was also an increase in calls to the Organ Donor Line.

Holly said: “My aim was for Donor Day to succeed in saving lives by encouraging more people to sign the Organ Donor Register. I’m ecstatic, and a little overwhelmed, to learn that the campaign generated such a brilliant response. The day was a fantastic experience, and to receive a personal message from No 10 was the icing on the cake!”

Holly is one of the campaigners in Channel 4’s Battlefront initiative; a multi-platform project aimed at 14 to 21-year-olds which encourages young people to get actively involved in campaigning about a cause in which they believe. Her campaign mentor is serial entrepreneur, Oli Barrett.

Oli said: “I’m incredibly proud of what Holly has achieved. A 15 fold increase on the average daily sign up rate is amazing. I hope that the impact of the campaign will be felt far beyond a single day; I think we can expect more sign ups to come in throughout the Easter period thanks to the online buzz created around the issue.”

As the campaign began to build earlier this month, ahead of Donor Day itself, NHS Blood and Transplant reported an increased pattern of activity. Since 1 April, the daily registrations have increased three-fold – from an average of 205 per day to an average of 674 per day.

Gordon Brown’s support on Donor Day followed other high profile endorsements of Holly’s campaign. Earlier in the week, she received positive messages of support from X-Factor winner Alexandra Burke, singer Connie Fisher and actress Nina Wadia, while the promotional photocall was attended by actress Fay Ripley and lead singer of Soul II Soul, Melissa Bell who last year announced that she is waiting for a kidney donor and is on dialysis three times each week.

· There are more than 8,000 people currently waiting for a transplant that could save or transform their lives

· Each year, around 1,000 people die due to the lack of donor organs available

· 90% of people in the UK say that they would allow their organs to be used. But only 23% have joined the Organ Donor Register

· You are statistically more likely to need a transplant than become a donor

· It takes just two minutes to sign the Register. Visit or / text GIFT to 64118 or telephone 0845 60 60 400

Press Release By Amy MacLaren from Colman Getty.

I was on Real Radio 105.4 yesterday and an article appeared on the Manchester Evening News Website today... although the figures are slightly wrong. You can read it here:

3222 signed up online, of that number 995 were directly through my website!

Friday, 10 April 2009

Donor Drinks Speech

I was so emotional at the drinks reception, it was all a bit of a whirlwind so I didn't read my full speech out, so for those of you that are interested here it is in full....

Thank you for coming tonight, to celebrate Donor Day! I won’t bore you for too long!

I just wanted to take this opportunity to tell you a bit about me and my campaign, for those of you that don’t already know.

Today is World Health Day, but I’m tackling an issue that is close to my heart, or should I say kidney? This year, 1,000 people in the UK alone will die because of the shortage of donor organs. There are 8,000 people in the UK currently waiting for an organ transplant that could save or transform their life. 90% of people in the UK, when questioned, said they would allow their organs to be used. Yet only 23% have signed up. Statistically, you are more likely to need a transplant than become a donor.

In the time it takes me to read this, or boil the kettle for a cup of tea, you could have signed up to the Organ Donor Register and helped save a life. I am passionate about encouraging as many people as possible to sign up; to close the gap between the number of people saying they would and those that actually do. I’m doing this because I know only too well what waiting on the transplant list is like.

I was a perfectly healthy teenager when suddenly, just after Christmas in 2004, I was taken ill and rushed into hospital. Eventually a scan of my kidneys showed they had shrunk and were no longer doing the job they were supposed to. At this point I was told I had End Stage Renal Failure (ESRF) and needed to go on dialysis immediately, which I would remain on for the foreseeable future until a suitable donor kidney was found for a transplant. As you can imagine this came as a huge shock to both me and my family, I was only 17!

From then on, I required dialysis 3 times a week for 3 hours at a time and waited patiently for that phone call saying the transplant was going to take place. The dialysis itself was restrictive, time-consuming and had unpleasant side-effects including low energy levels, tiring easily and almost constant nausea. However I continued with my studies at college and went on to university.

I first heard about The Battlefront Project back in September 2008 at this point I was still on dialysis trying to raise awareness at every available opportunity about the importance of Organ Donation. Becoming an advocate for the Live Life Then Give Life charity made me feel very proud and made me feel like I was doing something to help. They support people waiting for transplants and fund projects that increase the numbers of successful transplants in the UK. They have been a huge help to me and my family and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the whole team!

I am now 21 and I am pleased to say my story has a happy ending, as in October 2008 I received the call I had been waiting over 3 years for, a suitable kidney had been found and the transplant took place that evening. In the same week I also found out I had won the competition to become the 20th Battlefront Campaigner! Obviously I was still recovering from my Op so I wasn’t able to get as hands on as I would have liked, that is where the wonderful Emily Thackray came to my rescue! She stepped in and took the reigns until I was strong enough to get campaigning!

Life since my transplant is barely recognisable from that before kidney failure and dialysis, I have my health back I am enjoying the freedom from dialysis and the fact I can do normal everyday things that people take for granted. I can now socialise with my friends, eat and drink what I want. My family have got the old Holly back. Since my transplant I have been places I have never been, experienced things I have never experienced before and met people that I would never have met.

I am determined to use my new found freedom to promote the plight of others on the waiting list by encouraging more people to become organ donors.

The Gift of Life campaign aims to promote the benefits of signing up to the Organ Donor Register, and create discussion and debate around the issue, clearing up the myths and misconceptions many people seem to have about organ donation!

Donor Day took place today with volunteers up and down the country getting involved and setting up their own Donor Desks, from Warrington, to Birmingham, to Liverpool and of course the flagship Donor Desk in Canary Wharf! Many people have become 2 minute heroes today - if only one person had signed up today, that would have been enough for me!

I have so many people to thank for making this happen, firstly The Battlefront team and channel 4, I would never have dreamed my little idea would have turned into this! My fantastically supportive family for putting up with me and my moods when things weren’t going my way! People from organisations such as NHS Blood and Transplant and LLTGL, companies such as Dave, and Airlock and of course Adam Street for hosting this event tonight!

Oli Barrett my mentor who has helped me immensely and kept me focussed in my ideas, he has also introduced me to so many influential people including Amy Maclaren who has been there at the end of the phone when I have been having a panic, but she has also helped me get the message out there and into the media, and when Oli jetted off to America in the run up to today he left me a great replacement mentor in Michelle Acton-Bond.

Thanks to all of Holly’s Helpers and everyone who agreed to be interviewed or filmed , including my Transplant Surgeon and the nurses at The Royal Liverpool Hospital! Emily – my right hand woman, what can I say, you’re a shining star! You know how much it means to me that you have shared this journey with me, Thanks!

But last, and most importantly my donor as without them, none of this would have been possible I will be eternally grateful to the donor and their family for giving me this chance at a new life. I intend to make the most of my precious “Gift of Life” and I am going to take this campaign forward and continue raising as much awareness as I possibly can for all the people who aren’t here today because their wait was too long and those still fighting on, waiting for that transplant that they so deserve.

Thank you and enjoy your evening!

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Please scroll down and read the previous posts as I have had a busy few days blogging....

We travelled back from London after some final filming with the Battlefront crew, all the filming for this is now done!

On my way back to Warrington I received a phone call from a tv company called North One TV saying they were interested in doing a documentary on Organ Donation and would be interested in hearing my story! I really need to concentrate on University and my dissertation at the minute. The filming for Battlefront wasn't without stress and so I will have to think carefully if I want to be tied to another film crew. I suppose it depends how often they would want to film and what they want to film! Anyway I didn't say no... so watch this space!

Other news... I am now being followed by Sarah Brown on Twitter! I sent her a message saying how thrilled I was to receive the Prime Minister's support. She replied... "Happy to have support the campaign. Congratulations on Donor Day. All the best Sarah Brown"

I also got a great message from the lovely Ben Shephard on twitter which said... "
Holly it was great to meet you and what a huge result for donor day, your website and challenge is inspirational"

I did an interview today for Real Radio (North West) 105.4 - it was a recorded one. The reporter came to my house and it went well, he then went on to speak to Nicola Stitt who helped to man a Donor Desk at The Royal Liverpool Hospital! This will be aired tomorrow at some point so for those of you who live in the North West listen out for it... or you can listen online here.

I have also had interest from the Manchester Evening News and they are hoping to run a story on my success with Donor Day!

I have now got to write a pitch of my campaign for the Rt Hon Ed Balls who I met last week. All the Battlefront campaigners were invited to do this so that he can read them and then try and find people who could help take each campaign forward! I have never written a pitch before so I am unsure how to word it, but hey, I will give it a go and let you know how I get on!

So although Donor Day is over I am still quite busy concentrating on my dissertation for the moment, so may be quiet for a while... normal service will resume shortly!

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Donor Day!

Well today was D-Day and what a day it was!

It started off with a very early morning! 5.30! The crew from Battlefront wanted to film me before I left for GMTV so they arrived at 6.20 before the car picked me up at 6.50 - It was a big chrysler car! I didn't really take much of the journey in as I was so nervous and was running through in my head what I was going to say!

I arrived at the GMTV studios, greeted by Amy who was clutching the Metro - with the masthead that clearly wasn't the usual one! It had a massive red heart in place of its O!

What a great start to the media frenzy that would hit Donor Day! There was also an article inside the Metro which you can read here.

There was a bit of filming with Battlefront outside the GMTV studios and then in I went and straight into make up! Whilst I was in make-up I did my first radio interview of the day with City Talk. I was really nervous but all went well and they were really supportive, vowing to plug Donor Day throughout the day! I had a quick pic taken with Richard Arnold - who was fab!

From make-up, no chance to think - I was whisked into the studio and was greeted by the lovely Ben Shephard and Emma. I gave them a mug each with my logo on it and slogan! Ben immediately transferred his coffee into it and used it for the rest of the show - RESULT!

The interview went well, I hope I got my point across ok? I felt myself stuttering a bit but Ben and Emma put me at ease - as well as the lovely John who was sat next to me from NHS Blood and Transplant! You can see some information from GMTV here! From GMTV we then made our way to Canary Wharf to set up the Donor Desk doing an interview with Allan Beswick on Radio Manchester in the car on the way!

At this point I also found out that an article had been put up on the Guardian Online website which you can read here.

Donor Desk was set up in Canary Wharf and we began giving out leaflets, some people just blanked us when we asked them about Organ Donation and whether they wanted to sign up. In fact some people were down right rude, however there were loads of nice people and some great stories to hear!

I left my Mum, Dad and my volunteers here (who were stars) and I went off to visit two more Donor Desks, one in Spitalfields market - run by Holly Cocker and her friend Oli Foggin (who donated a kidney to her - what a selfless act!) They were doing a great job and it was really good for me to see donor desks in different locations... the next one I visited was within a firm called Allen and Overy I was introduced to Shankari there who was lovely and was genuinely interested in my campaign, and even suggested working together in the future on a project she is interested in starting!

I then did another interview with City Talk - this time talking to Dean Sullivan (Jimmy Corkhill) from Brookside! Although I was unaware of this at the time until I was told later that day by my brother! Next a quick radio interview with the Warrington radio station Wire FM. Both interviews went well although Dean did grill me more than the others. This was probably a good thing as he was asking the questions that most people would want to know the answers to!

Back to Canary Wharf for more of handing out leaflets and encouraging people to sign up! I also did an interview with the London Docklands newspaper at this point as well as the Daily Mirror! It was then time to pack the desk up and make our way to the drinks venue! My feet were so sore by this point (I don't know how I was still standing) yet we walked to the tube and traveled in rush hour! Not such a good idea. We went along a few stops but gave up at Waterloo and hailed a taxi as I was feeling pretty sick at this point!

We arrived at the drinks venue Adam Street Private Members Club and didn't even really get chance to put out any of the leaflets I wanted to! Battlefront wanted to film and I wanted to get changed (guests were arriving and I still hadn't got my dress on!) I got changed in the loos (very glam) and was able to greet some of my guests. This was very brief as I was whisked off to Sky News' Westminster studio to do a live interview with Matt Smith about how the internet had given me the platform to campaign! By this time I was shattered and felt that I didn't really do a good job as I was stuttering! But hey, I think I can be forgiven as I had been up 14 hours! I was rushed back by car to the drinks reception and was barely there 10 minutes and I had to do my speech. Mine followed my mentor Oli Barrett's (he is a fantastic speaker and I really couldn't compare) I was so emotional by this point I couldn't bring myself to read out the whole speech. I burst into tears when I started talking about my Donor and decided Emily should read it for me! BAD IDEA - she was in floods if tears as well! It went down well anyway and I'm glad I got some of it out before I turned into an emotional wreck!

More pictures to follow!

The emotions didn't stop there as I had to take a phone call which was the 2nd most amazing one of my life (after the one saying that a kidney had become available for me). It was from the Prime Minister's Health Advisor saying that the Prime Minister had put out a quote of support for my campaign on the Number 10 Website!

“I want to give my support and thanks to Holly Shaw and all those involved in her campaign. Joining the organ donation register is a selfless act of kindness which can save many lives and offer new hope for potentially thousands of families across the country.”

Yay! I began to well up and I couldn't believe it. The best was yet to come as he then went on to say that Gordon Brown had been so impressed that he actually wanted to meet me to discuss the campaign and a letter would be in the post! I'm still grinning!

I couldn't wait to to tell Oli (my mentor) and we both went down to tell the awaiting room of guests the good news. It was so great to see their faces when we announced what had just happened! Everybody was so pleased for me and at that minute I knew Donor Day had been a wonderful success, thanks to everyone that was involved!

What a fantastic day... and that was the icing on the cake... my feet have hardly touched the ground!

Monday, 6 April 2009

Photocall Day!


The photo call was great! I'm not going to lie, it was one of the most stressful things I have ever done! I had to co-ordinate everyone, setting up the desks and making sure everyone knew what was happening as well as going to collect deliveries from Dave!

3 photographers turned up! Including one that Amy Maclaren had organised to come along, she was fantastic and had some really interesting ideas regarding the photos!

Everything was set up, photographers in place and they started clicking away taking photos and it was decided that a celebrity was really necessary to make it a success. Luckily Emily got on the case and stood outside the capital FM HQ and came across the lovely Fay Ripley who kindly agreed to don a t-shirt and have her picture taken which was fantastic! She was really interested in the campaign and thought it was a great idea!

We all packed away the donor desks and then I received a phonecall from someone called Melissa Bell. She asked if we had finished as she had only just seen the email inviting her to the photo call. I was a bit confused (as I hadn't invited her) I said awww we've just packed up and I think I am on my way to a meeting now! She then spoke to another lady who came to be in the photoshoot and everything started to click... Melissa Bell was the lead singer of Soul 2 Soul and the mother of Alexandra Burke, who also happens to be waiting for a kidney transplant!!! She said she would be there in 15 minutes and so we got the desk set up again ready for another round of pictures - the only problem was there were no photographers, they had all gone! We quickly rang round and the lovely Holly Cocker came back as she is a superb photographer and thankfully hadn't gone too far!

So no celebs at the start of the day and by the end 2! yay! The pictures turned out great and the photocall was a huge success. Thanks to everyone who turned up Lynne, Maribel, Holly, Oli, Sarah, Helen, Abby, Molly, Audrey and of course the lovely Emily, I couldn't have done it without her! She was really good at calming me down and really good at taking control when I was in a bit of a fluster!

I then got the chance to have another chance to chat to Amy who prepped me for my GMTV interview that was planned for the next day! That put me at ease a little and was a great practice run! I also caught up with my mentor Oli Barrett who I was relieved to see as he had been away in America and we had only really chatted via email. We finalised some details for the next day (Donor Day) and discussed media interest in Donor Day.

In the afternoon I got the chance to visit the drinks venue Adam Street again, everytime I see it I get more and more excited about it! I was hoping to go back to the hotel for a rest, but Battlefront wanted to film my nervousness the day before Donor Day... The camera lady didn't leave till 10.30 and I still had to wash my hair and get up at 5.30 for GMTV....

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Photo Call Tomorrow

So its photo call day tomorrow, I am a bit stressed about it all really....

Will everyone turn up?

Will a celebrity turn up?

Will photographers turn up?

Will the designs from Dave turn up?

Wish me luck!

P.S - My very own website (designed by airlock) is up and running now yay!

Check it out -

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Campaign Developments...

Recently regarding my campaign I received quotes of support from Connie Fisher which said
“There is a key saying in life, ‘Your health is your Wealth’ and this is certainly the phrase I live by. Organ transplant lists are always growing but with people like Holly launching a national Donor Day hopefully we can raise awareness on a subject that can often be over-looked. Join me and pledge your support by putting your name on the Organ Donor Register. You too could give others the gift of life.”

I also received support from Nina Wadia - "Give someone a second chance by giving them the gift of life. Put your name on the organ donation register and support Holly's campaign. The gift of Life is a great campaign as it is raising awareness of the shortage of organ donors, it is a subject that young people don't want to think about, but they should as it may affect them."

And finally Alexandra Burke - “It’s so important for people to understand what it means to give something back. Hundreds of people die every year in the UK waiting for a transplant and this is why I am supporting Holly's campaign and encouraging people to sign the organ donor register."

On the 29th of March I went down to London for some filming for the Battlefront programme, for a few meetings about my campaign but most importantly I got to meet all of the other Battlefront campaigners at the Battlefront event at County Hall!

It was a great day with some really interesting and inspiring people. One of the highlights was meeting Ed Balls he was a lovely man and was genuinely interested in hearing about our campaigns and our aims! He offered to receive information regarding the campaigns and then forward them on to relevant people who may be able to help us!

I also got the opportunity to discuss my progress of The Gift of Life campaign with Esther Rantzen among other influential people. They seemed impressed! I then was asked to do a speech in front of about 60ish people (including Ed and Esther) I was reluctant to do this at first as I hate public speaking (I get nervous doing presentations at university) however I overcame my nerves. It was a short speech but I am so glad I did it.

I got the chance to meet up with one of my mentors Amy Maclaren from Colman Getty and we discussed the photocall (which was taking place on 6th April) and what still needed to be planned and what would be the general focus of the photo including the location. We decided that it would be best to set up a Donor Desk in a public space so that people would be able to recognise the flagship one at Canary Wharf!

It was decided that my campaign needed a BIG idea and some branding so Battlefront organised for me to meet Steve @ designers Dave from the next day. They were fantastic and had some great ideas, including the fact that it only takes 2 minutes to sign up to the Organ Donor Register - the time it takes to make a cup of tea!

2 minute heroes was born and the slogan Be a Hero: Put the Kettle on! They made me T-shirts, badges, leaflets and mugs. I absolutely love them and will continue to use them throughout my campaign!

That same afternoon I got to see the venue for the Donor Day Drinks night for the first time - Adam Street, Private Members Club (very swish) I fell in love with it straight away! So its all happening, not long to go and still lots to plan.....

Friday, 3 April 2009

Please Repost!

On Tuesday 7th April, people all over the UK are going to be doing something big. Very big.

They're going to take two minutes to become a hero.

Please repost this flyer wherever you can to help spread the word and encourage people to be proactive in spreading the word.

It takes two minutes to save lives. Get involved, Be a hero: Put the Kettle on!

Thank you.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Photo Call - 6th April UPDATE

We need to get people together for a rather awesome photocall! This is to promote my Battlefront campaign called "The Gift Of Life" and the photo will be made available to all National Media.

Monday 6th April at 11am

The Green in Leicester Square, London.

People! Particularly those affected by transplant, and especially anyone currently waiting for a transplant.

Have their picture taken with the Donor Desk - which will be set up in Leicester Square!

In order to create an image that the papers will want to use, we need lots of people! PLEASE if you possibly can, come and support this huge push for Organ Donor Awareness. Can't come but know someone who might? Pass it on! Thanks!

I will need to do some updating on the Blog but I am so busy with preparations for Donor Day this may have to wait till its all over and I can do it in retrospect!

In short... highlights this week

Media stuff to watch out for...

  • in the Metro
  • in the Guardian Online
  • in the Warrington Guardian
  • and..... GMTV
  • They are filming a bit at home with me tomorrow and then I will hopefully be live on the couch on the morning of Donor Day (Next Tuesday)

Obviously none of the media stuff is a dead cert as it depends on news stories that come in etc. Will keep you updated and I promise to do a more indepth Blog next week! Wish me look for the Photo Call and Donor Day! Arghhhhh less than a week!