Monday, August 25, 2008

Adrian "Baldy" Sudbury Dies at 27

Got back from my weekly checkup/followup from last week's fat & painful legs incident, and everyone was pleased to see that the treatments (and the resulting easier ability to move around) have greatly improved things. My white blood count, which has been out of control, even dropped down to more normal levels, probably as a result of the treatment (which means my muscles ache a lot less).

Still, it was something of a whirlwind this morning. We were stunned to arrive home before noon. (Everything, including traffic, aligned, so we had almost zero wait time for everything. This is unheard of.) So I'm a bit tired, and need to lie down before this afternoon's planned whirlwind, which you'll be hearing about later.

But when I casually glanced at previously missed news item, I couldn't let it pass. The Guardian reported on Wednesday that Adrian "Baldy" Sudbury died the night before. We've written on Adrian a few times before in passing (mostly in relation to the bone marrow donor clinics centred around him in one way or another), and his excellent Baldy's Blog has always been a delight to read, though I've never had the time to read it in the depth that I'd like.

Many people don't hear about bone marrow transplants until they or someone they know needs one. Many people, when they find out about them, try to inform as many people as possible. The Internet and its many communication services make this easier even for people without a communications background, and those of us who do also jump in if we feel we need to.

Because of our different backgrounds, different ages, and different situations, we jump into these things differently, but there's an underlying sentiment I noticed early on that I articulated a few times when talking to the press or other activists: we're all in this together. When we make these efforts to help ourselves, our friends, or our families—in short, no matter how personal the motivation—we help each other as well as future people who will need recipients. It's selfish and selfless at the same time, and many of us quickly realize that.

Even among all of our stories, Adrian's was remarkable. Here was someone who, after a time, consciously decided to stop treatment—in effect, removing the possiblity of any selfish motivation—and threw himself even harder into his activism with the time he had left. And he made excellent use of his time, meeting with PM Gordon Brown and speaking out about proper awareness and understanding of the bone marrow registering and donation procedures in schools, so that people would be better informed when they were old enough to make the choice to register.

And in every picture of him, in every word he wrote, he was smiling. Adrian's done a lot, and I think that even now that he's gone, he'll continue to do a lot. I've never met him, I've never spoken to him, I've never e-mailed him. I miss him terribly.

[Cross-posted from Heal Emru.]

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