Adrian Sudbury, the journalist who ran a countrywide campaign for increased awareness of leukaemia as he fought a two-year battle against the illness, died last night aged 27.
Sudbury was named digital journalist of the year at this year’s Regional Press Awards for his Baldy’s Blog, where he chronicled his illness and treatment, explaining complex medical procedures in everyday language.
Sudbury died in is his sleep surrounded by family.
He won a worldwide following for his work. In November 2007 he was named best international blogger at the weblog awards in Las Vegas. The month before he won the prize for best online feature at the Guild of Health Writers Awards.
Sudbury contracted two rare forms of cancer in November 2006, days after being promoted to a digital journalist role at Trinity Mirror‘s Huddersfield Daily Examiner, taking a lead role on its website.
At one point he made a recovery, and returned to work, but the bone marrow transplant was ultimately unsuccessful and after complications Sudbury decided to end treatment earlier this year. It was at this point that he launched his campaign to increase awareness of bone marrow transplants in order that his death would not be in vain.
His father Keith said: ‘Adrian died peacefully in his sleep. Every parent thinks their son or daughter is special and we are no different.
‘Adrian touched all who knew him. We’re very proud of all his achievements in tragically such a short time.
He said that he and Adrian’s mother Kay hoped that ‘all Adrian’s good work will be continued by all those who knew and loved him”.
Sudbury’s campaign to make lessons on blood donation and the facts about leukaemia compulsory for 16- to 18-year-olds in full-time education took him to Downing Street to see Prime Minister Gordon Brown and other ministers – and saw the PM call him last week to congratulate him on his efforts. He was also mentioned in Prime Minister’s Questions.
Sudbury began his career at the Express and Chronicle Series in Holmfirth as a junior reporter in 2003, after completing a journalism course at Norton College in Sheffield, before moving to the Examiner three years later.
In November 2006 he was promoted to digital journalist in charge of the Examiner website.
A week later he drove himself to A&E at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield and was eventually diagnosed with leukaemia.
There will be a private family funeral followed by a service of remembrance at Sheffield Cathedral at a date to be confirmed.