Mum’s last call to back donor campaign

Organ donation campaign drive in Miley Turbitt's name. Mother Sharon Eckert.
Organ donation campaign drive in Miley Turbitt's name. Mother Sharon Eckert.

A SOUTH Tyneside mum who wants a change in the organ donation system has made a last-ditch call to the public to get behind her campaign.

Sharon Eckert was devastated when daughter Miley Turbitt died last November.

The 14-week-old, who suffered from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, needed a new heart, but one was not which found in time.

Within months of Miley’s death, Sharon, supported by family and friends, began publicising organ donation in South Tyneside and encouraging people to become donors.

Since the start of the Gazette-supported In Miley’s Memory campaign, more than 600 people in the borough have become organ donors.

As part of the campaign, Sharon, 38, has also been campaigning for a change in the donation system, to one where a person is automatically registered, with an option to opt out.

It is an issue close to the heart of Sharon, who is also mother of Yasmin Eckert, 19, and Cole Turbitt, six.

To date, almost 1,000 people have signed the petition calling for the change.

Sharon, from Westmorland Road, South Shields, said: “The campaign has received a fantastic response and there’s still time for people to get behind it.

“If anyone is thinking about signing up, then now is the time to do it.

“A lot of people we have been talking to say an opt-out system would be easier.

“They have no objections to being an organ donor, but for a lot it was just a topic that never cropped up, and until now signing up as a donor wasn’t something they had thought about.  

“We also had some people say they were scared to sign the register, but wouldn’t have any problems to being automatically registered.

“When Miley died, our whole world came crashing down. In Miley’s Memory means so much to me and my family, and we have been overwhelmed by the response so far.”

Petitions in support of In Miley’s Memory can be downloaded from the Gazette’s website. Completed forms can be handed into our reception in Chapter Row, South Shields, NE33 1BL no later than Tuesday, April 30.

n Anyone who would like to sign up to become an organ donor can call 0300 123 2323 or visit

Twitter: @shieldsgazlisa