Organ donor campaign gets massive boost

PUBLISHED: 08:30 17 March 2011

'T' Sandeman-Charles with some of the Saffron Insurance staff who have signed up to the campaign

'T' Sandeman-Charles with some of the Saffron Insurance staff who have signed up to the campaign

Archant

A HARD-HITTING campaign launched by a woman with one of the world's rarest lung diseases has received strong backing in Saffron Walden.

Duddenhoe End resident Teresa Sandeman-Charles, known as ‘T’, started Save5 last year after being diagnosed with two incurable lung diseases. She is one of only eight people in the world to have been diagnosed with idiopathic pleuroparenchymal fibroelastosis.

The aim of Save5 is to get 10,000 people to register online as an organ donor. The campaign has, so far, received the backing of 935 people from across the country – and it has been given a boost locally after 17 employees of Saffron Insurance signed up.

“Saffron Insurance has been wonderful,” said Mrs Sandeman-Charles, who has donated a great deal of her own money to the campaign.

“I have been a client for 12 years and asked for 10 minutes of [managing director] David Beswick’s time because I know he is a busy man. Since then, they have taken it on board and gone that extra mile which is just incredible.

“When a company like that shows so much support it is both humbling and overwhelming. It is great for me because I can’t do this alone. I need people to say that they believe in this and then do something about it.”

Mrs Sandeman-Charles, a former cookery demonstrator, is being attacked by the diseases on two fronts: one causes her lungs to lose the ability to move in and out, while the other means her lungs are fibrosing, meaning that breathing becomes more and more difficult.

A transplant is her only chance of survival.

“Unfortunately the chances of a transplant are slim but I am determined that something positive will come out of these diseases.

“It can’t just kill me and nothing come out of it,” said Mrs Sandeman-Charles.

“Save5 has been brilliant for me because it has kept me focused. I want to be around for some time and to get 10,000 people to sign up is my goal, the driving force that keeps me going. When somebody registers they could save or transform five lives – a potential impact on 50,000 lives.”

She added: “It is not for me to say whether people should or should not donate but what I am concerned about is that people should take time out to consider organ donation. They can then make a decision one way or the other and act on that decision if appropriate.

“I speak to many people about this and most are pro-transplant. I think that people have good intentions but get sidetracked. It is not that they don’t want to, it is just that it is not top of the agenda for most people.

“Yet it takes just one minute to register.”

Managing director of Saffron Insurance David Beswick hailed Mrs Sandeman-Charles as an inspiration.

He said: “T is an outstanding woman who through her own unique circumstances has the courage to support others. She is saving lives and making a real difference to the future of so many.

“We have many customers in the business world and we are putting T in touch with them.”

About Save 5

● 935 people have registered online to be an organ donor – in the future 4675 lives could be saved or transformed.

● To register online and for further details visit save5.org.uk and follow the two very simple steps.

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