IT’S A cause close to the heart of firefighter Stu Vince – getting more people to sign the organ donor register.
Watch manager Stu and firefighter Phil Jackson, of Cosham blue watch, will be running from Queen Alexandra Hospital to Land’s End, before rowing back from Penzance to Gunwharf Quays.
The charity drive starts on May 20, and yesterday the pair were at the Nuffield Health and Wellbeing Centre, in Northern Parade, Portsmouth, to get people signed on to the register.
They were encouraging people to do a bit of running and rowing themselves to see what the pair will go through.
Stu said: ‘We were getting people rowing and running the equivalent distance that we’ll be doing for the charity.
‘We had three rowers and three running machines set aside for distance to be counted.
‘The response we’ve had has been great.
‘We want to raise awareness of the organ donor register as only 29 per cent of the UK population are on it.
‘We want to make the pool bigger and get more people signed up.’
As previously reported in The News, watch manager Stu helped save the life of family friend Michael Paxman by donating his kidney.
The 20-year-old faced waiting two years for a kidney after his family were incompatible.
And he was over the moon when Stu stepped up and was found to be a match.
But now Stu and Phil want to get more people to become donors.
Staff at the health centre joined in.
Duty manager Emma Grant said: ‘All the staff signed the donor register list.
‘A certain percentage of people will accept an organ, but not many people are donors.
‘We were pleased to host this event for such a good cause and there was a good uptake.
‘We want to get behind this challenge and help.’
As well as raising awareness, the pair have set themselves a target of raising £20,000.
The money will be split between QA, where the transplant took place, and Southampton General Hospital, where Michael was getting dialysis.
For more information, or to donate money, visit thebigdonorchallenge.co.uk.