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!

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