The Baby Petition That's Become a Web Hit - Tiny People With a Big Message For Tony Blair
27 September 2006
The tiniest scraps of life, who can’t yet speak for themselves, have inspired people across the UK to call on the Government to save their lives and futures.
Charity Action Medical Research launched its ‘Stand Up For Tiny Lives’ online petition at the Comedy Store in June and officials have been staggered by the response.
“It’s beyond anything we expected – we couldn’t have dreamt that it would be so successful so quickly,“ said Director Andrew Proctor. “It just goes to show the strength of feeling on this issue – people are demanding change.”
The petition, www.standupfortinylives.org, is calling on the Government to double the amount of money spent on research to stop babies from being born prematurely.
In a very short period of time it has gained over 8,000 messages of support from celebrities, parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters of babies born too soon and some of the UK’s most eminent obstetricians, paediatricians and researchers.
Premature birth is responsible for over half of the UK’s 3,000 infant deaths every year and thousands more suffer painful operations and treatments simply to keep them alive.
Many go on to suffer with problems such as blindness, cerebral palsy, intestinal difficulties, disability and developmental problems for the rest of their lives.
Mr Proctor continued, “At the current time we estimate that the Government invests just £6 million a year in research to stop early birth.
“It’s a drop in the ocean and is simply not enough.
“Until our campaign, many people thought that there was as much money as researchers need to stop babies from suffering. They have been shocked to discover that this is not the case.
“As a result our petition really has developed a life of its own – it’s fast becoming a web phenomenon with people sending the web link onto everyone in their address book.
“The comments they are leaving are in turns sad, funny, tragic, inspirational and full of hope.
“They are very powerful stories and appeals for help. The Government must listen to what people are telling them.
“All babies are dependant on this research to ensure that they survive, thrive and have a healthy future.”
Professor Jane Norman who is one of the UK’s top experts in this field said, “Research teams have been calling on successive Governments to provide greater help for decades.
“What research has been done has undoubtedly saved many lives already; we are seeing that low weight babies now have around a 85% chance of survival when just 30 years ago it was only 1 in 2 that made it.
“However it has been severely hampered by lack of funding and much of this research relies on charities, such as Action Medical Research, to allow it to go ahead.
“Without their support, much life saving research could have been lost and more babies would have died.”
The petition www.standupfortinylives.org closes on 31 December 2006 and will be handed into No10 early in 2007.
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