A SOUTH Tyneside mum is today making an emotional journey to Downing Street to deliver a petition calling for a change in the organ donation system.
Less than three months since the tragic death of her daughter, Miley Turbitt, 39-year-old Sharon Eckert launched the Gazette-backed In Miley’s Memory campaign, to raise awareness of organ donation.
The 14-week-old, who suffered from a severe form of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, died in Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital after a replacement heart failed to be found in time, despite medics desperately scouring Europe for a suitable organ.
After the launch of the campaign, in February, almost 2,000 people in South Tyneside have signed up to become organ donors.
Sharon also asked for people to sign a petition calling for a change in the organ donation system to a one where people are automatically registered – unless they choose to opt out. And today, on the first anniversary of Miley’s death, Sharon will deliver that petition, which has 1,500 signatures.
The mum-of-of-three from Westmorland Road, South Shields, wants to see England follow Wales and introduce the ‘opt out’ system for organ donation. At present, people have to sign up to become organ donors.
Ms Eckert, who will travel down to London with her mum, Margaret Eckert, and daughter, Yasmin Eckert, said: “When we first started the campaign, I never imagined it would become as big as it has. The support we have received has been overwhelming.
“Having the chance to go to London and present our petition to Downing Street is something I never thought would happen. Delivering the petition will be emotional as it will be a year since Miley died, but knowing how much this campaign has achieved brings me some comfort by knowing her death hasn’t been in vain.
“I just hope what we have done will make those in power look at introducing a presumed consent system – unless they opt out – in England, like they have in Wales.
“In this day and age, people shouldn’t be dying because they are waiting for an organ.”