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Be a star and get signed up.

Byline: Sarah Walker Reporter sarah.walker@trinitymirror.com

THE mum of a Middlesbrough boy who is likely to need a liver and kidney transplant has helped bring a new organ donation campaign to town. Rachel Gill, 31, is backing the Bright Green Stars campaign to encourage people to sign up to the national Organ Donor Register.

Son Marley, six, is her inspiration, as he continues to bravely fight liver and kidney diseases portal hypertension, congenital hepatic fibrosis, Caroli's disease and polycystic kidney disease.

The Berwick Hills youngster needs regular treatment at hospital in Leeds and his family have been warned his condition could deteriorate in the future.

Having previously raised funds for the Children's Liver Disease Foundation, Rachel and husband Mark, 39, who have another son, Theo, four, are now turning their attention to Bright Green Stars, which is also supported by CLDF.

The initiative involves a mystery man dressed in green, who scales various landmarks and meets famous people throughout the UK, adding stars to a growing constellation, which signify organ donors, recipients and their families.

Hairdresser, Rachel, said: "I personally have always been on the organ donor register but when Marley was diagnosed and the word 'transplant' was talked about, it opened my eyes a lot more as to how important it is for people to be signed up.

"We are totally behind the Bright Green Stars campaign as we want to shout at the top of our voices the importance of organ donation, with the green stars symbolising families and donors."

She adds the main goal of the campaign is to save the lives of the three people who die each day while waiting for the "special gift" of a transplant. She said: "So many families go through the heartache of losing a loved one. But they can live on by giving the greatest gift of life - an organ." With the help of the Gill family, bright Green Star Man has already scaled the heights of the Transporter Bridge and Roseberry Topping and has met Boro legend Craig Hignett.

Craig said: "I've known Rachel for a few years now and when she phoned me up and asked if I'd have my picture taken, I was happy to help raise awareness."

Craig admits he's not on the organ donation register but said: "It's something I've thought about and I do want to do but I've never quite got around to it and I suppose that's the same with a lot of people. What Rachel's doing to raise awareness is brilliant to get people like me to sign up."

The Bright Green Stars campaign was started in Torquay by Chris and Julie Bryon-Edmond, parents of four-year-old Lottie, who became the world's youngest survivor of a liver transplant at just one month old.

As part of the innovative awareness campaign, they began planting green stars all over South Devon, creating an air of mystery around who Green Star Man was and the signifi-cance of the stars.

Have you or your loved |ones been affected by organ donation or the need for a transplant? You can contact Rachel about the campaign by email at rach_gill07@live.com or get in touch with Sarah Walker to share your story.

CAPTION(S):

Green Star Man on top of the Transporter Bridge and |with Craig Hignett 140715STAR_003 IAN COOPER

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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jul 30, 2015
Words:557
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