Hundreds sign up in organ donor drive

DETERMINED ... Sharon Eckert with some of the signatures for the In Miley's Memory campaign.
DETERMINED ... Sharon Eckert with some of the signatures for the In Miley's Memory campaign.

A FAMILY’S determination to change the organ donation system has amassed more than 500 signatures.

Last week, Sharon Eckert launched a petition as part of the lifesaving In Miley’s Memory campaign, calling for organ donation registration to be automatic – unless an individual opts out.

The campaign was launched after Ms Eckert’s 14-week-old daughter, Miley Turbitt, who suffered from a severe form of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, died in November, while waiting for a heart donor to be found.

Less than two weeks into the campaign, which also encourages people to sign up to the organ donation register, more than 500 people have put their name to the petition – including South Shields MP David Miliband.

Ms Eckert, 38, from Westmorland Road, South Shields, said: “I have been overwhelmed by the support my family has received for an issue which means so much to us.

“The campaign has been going less than two weeks and people we have spoken to are behind an opt-out system being introduced.

“If this campaign helps to raise awareness and helps saves lives then I know Miley hasn’t died in vain and she is not just another statistic.”

Baby Miley was being kept alive with the help of an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine at the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital while doctors launched a Europe-wide search for a heart.

However, a donor was not found in time and baby Miley’s body gave up the fight for life, last November.

Since then her family have been campaigning, not only to encourage people to sign up to the register, but to also for an ‘opt-out’ system to be introduced in England.

Download a petition here and print it out for your friends and family to sign.

To sign up to the organ donation register, visit by clicking here

Completed petitions should be handed in to the Gazette’s reception in Chapter Row, South Shields, marked for the attention of Lisa Nightingale, by no later than March 28.

* The family would like to thank Decorum for designing and donating campaign T-shirts and Essential Signs and Graphics for creating and donating posters to help boost the campaign. Both businesses are based at Tedco Business Works, Henry Robson Way, South Shields.

Twitter: @shieldsgazlisa