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Donor Campaigner gains International attention

****Media Release****

GiveLife NZ

26 February 2008

Organ Donor Campaigner gains International attention

Organ Donor Campaigner Andy Tookey has received recognition for his work from the worldwide Health and Social Campaigners organisation based in the UK.

In its latest report – “Winds of Change? The patient as activist.” It states that there are around 70,000 patient advocacy groups worldwide. Of this number it chooses to focus on just four. Andy Tookey’s campaign, GiveLife NZ is under the reports heading:

“Shaping and changing the political agenda.”

The article goes on to say:

“The media of many countries regularly stocks itself with stories of celebrities backing worthy causes that aim to alleviate disease and sickness and improve healthcare. But, perhaps far more remarkable, are the efforts of ordinary citizens who seek to influence shortfalls in their healthcare system, and even to campaign about deficiencies in national and international health policy.

Successful lobbying groups are intent on changing policy and law. They provide viewpoints in consultation processes, harangue key government agencies and officials, place high-profile news stories in the media, and campaign in favour of new legislation.

The power of one – Social entrepreneurs

The idea that individuals can inspire change in society seems to be thousands of years old. Such aspirationalists—ordinary people with innovative solutions to society’s most

pressing social problems—were hailed as ‘social entrepreneurs’ in the 1960s and 1970s.

Patient activists like Geissler, Juklerod, López- Muñoz y Larraz, Rosenfeld, and Tookey may not be social entrepreneurs in the strict sense of the term. They are inspired by a cause, rather than by innovative processes for effecting change. A loved one’s death; injustice at the hands of health providers; the sense of hopelessness that follows a diagnosis— these are all causes that have prompted hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of people to create their own self-help or advocacy groups. Their determination and dedication, and that of fellow patient activists, have gone some way towards

stimulating a transformation in society. Patient activism is being recognised as a new,

unique movement, and one that could have a profound impact on the way healthcare is run.”

• In 2002, Tookey was presented an award alongside New Zealand Film Director Peter Jackson from the ‘Gift of Life Donor Program’ based in the USA for their collaboration on raising organ donor awareness.

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