Andrew Tookey, whose Organ Donor Campaign we are supporting, writes:
Thought it may be a good time to update everyone on progress to date.
Firstly, Katie is doing well, and has been well since we have stopped taking her to Starship for checkups. This is not to say we are withdrawing any medical treatment we would seek treatment at the first sign of any problems. It’s just that she has had so many appointments where the doctor pokes her in the tummy and says ‘fine – I’ll see you next time’ and then she goes back a few days later with a bug that we find out was rampant in the hospital at the time of her appointment.
As we all know hospitals are not healthy places! We have received a letter from the Auckland District Health Board in reply to our concerns at the infections/bugs and other treatment of Katie. The letter was much as expected, with a lot of apologies, and they will review certain areas etc.etc. Yeah Right! Can’t believe that we are the first to mention the problems!
The select committee appears to have heard all the submissions now. In fact they met today (in private) to decide what the next step is. At the last select committee hearing Sir Geoffrey Palmer (former Prime Minister) presented his submission. Sir Geoffrey had been independently commissioned as a constitutional law expert to examine the issues. I am pleased to say his independent research backed up my submission 100%. Also speaking at the select committee was a grandmother who donated part of her liver to her grandson to save his life, and a heart transplant recipient. The manager of donor co-coordinators also spoke.
Even though the Select Committee can make a report to Parliament for changes. The government are not bound by them and do not have to implement them, which seems silly as it makes a mockery of the whole process of everyone having their democratic say. My ‘moles’ tell me that it already appears that is the way the government appears to heading. I do not think it wise that the government ignore the wishes of the people in this respect. If they do, it appears I will have a whole new battle on my hands, I know that I will be able to draw strength from your support in this.

I would like to point out, that I have heard banded around recently that of course I want change because I have a vested interest. Well of course I do! But…
I should also point out that if you read my submission to Parliament, I have NOT ONCE pointed out my personal circumstances. I did not need to, I had enough evidence that the system is in need of an urgent overhaul that I did not need to introduce an emotional element.
TV Commercial
You may have seen on ‘Holmes’ that the Organ Donor TV Commercial is now made. Cameron Duncan, the teenage cancer victim, and talented director has entered it in the ‘Fair Go Ad Awards’ The commercial has made it into the top five, and will be screened on Fair Go next Wednesday 15th October. This will also be your opportunity to vote for the best commercial. I am not advocating that you vote for it, but do watch it! Or you can watch the commercial by clicking [this link.

As life/death and organ donation can be a taboo subject, I think you will find that the commercial is sensitive and powerful, we spent a good deal of time discussing the best approach and decided we did not want to go down the avenue of the LTSA ‘horror/gory’ style commercials, as we believe people have become desensitised to those, also we didn’t want to go down the ’emotional blackmail’ avenue such as World Vision. We wanted an ad that would make people ‘think’ I would be pleased to receive any feedback on your views on it. Though note that the text at the end of the commercial is for the competition, it will be modified slightly for use on network television.
The next problem is getting it on air! Despite offering the Minister of Health several opportunities to help pay for the air time she has refused, saying she is not prepared to spend money ‘ad hoc’ First of all it is not ‘ad hoc’ as all countries acknowledge that public awareness is imperative, and secondly she has said herself that one of the best ways to increase donor rates is for families to discuss their wishes. How will they do that, when they don’t know, they think that putting it on their driving licence is enough? When the MOH eventually go and make their own ad it will cost the taxpayer over $200,000 just to make it, I’m offering them a non political one for free, just around $30,000 for air time.
Lord of the Rings
You may have seen in the press recently that the LOTR fan club are having a charity dinner on the eve of the Premiere of the third LOTR movie in Wellington.
The seats sold out within hours, and they are now trying to arrange extra space for more people. At present around 600 people are attending, more than half are flying in from around the world. There will also be an auction of ‘items’ the proceeds going to charity.
The organisers of the event asked Peter Jackson to nominate where he would like the proceeds to go. He nominated us. We are obviously delighted with his backup, apart from what he has done for this campaign publicly, his personal, private help has been wonderful, especially as he is under incredible pressure at the moment.
The money raised will go towards helping to pay for air time for the commercial. (in the absence of official funding)
I, with the rest of my family (making their first trip to Wellington) will be attending the dinner, to speak of our campaign and to personally thank all those involved.
Sorry to ramble on, but I could have said more!
Thank you for your continued support!
The Tookey Family