A SOUTH Tyneside councillor has pledged his support to a lifesaving campaign sparked by the death of a 14-week-old baby.
Coun Ernest Gibson was touched by the tragic story of tiny Miley Turbitt, who died while waiting for a heart donor.
After hearing of her family’s ‘In Miley’s Memory’ campaign, the councillor has asked for the issue of organ donation to be raised in the Town Hall.
In the last year, four South Tynesiders have died while waiting for a transplant, and Coun Gibson, who is also the borough’s deputy Mayor, said: “Organ donation is such an important issue and one I feel we must address.
“I admire the courage and bravery that Miley’s family have shown to have been able to find the strength to launch this campaign which highlights this important issue.
“Miley’s story has touched the hearts of so many people in South Tyneside and shows just why it is important for people to sign up to the organ donation register.”
The Gazette-supported campaign will be mentioned at the next meeting of the People’s Select Committee, chaired by Coun Gibson, which looks at issues affecting children and young people, adults and health, at the end of the month.
‘In Miley’s Memory’ hopes to encourage people to sign up to the organ donation register.
The family are also petitioning for a change in the organ donation system from one in which people have to opt in to donate when they die to one where organs are available automatically, unless people choose to opt out.
Miley’s mum Sharon Eckert, 38, says she has been left overwhelmed by the support she has received so far.
The mum-of-three, of Westmorland Road, South Shields, said: “The whole family has been left touched by the support we are receiving and that people are taking notice.
“Knowing there is a possibility that this campaign can really change something for the better, I just can’t thank people enough for their support.
“I’m really grateful for Coun Gibson to have taken the campaign to his heart and to mention the issue of organ donation at the next council meeting.”
Completed petitions should be handed into the Gazette office in Chapter Row by March 28.
To sign up to the organ donation register, visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk