A year and a half ago sepsis almost claimed my life. During my 19 days in intensive care, it was repeatedly touch and go whether I lived or died.
When I was taken ill in September 2015, I was one of the vast majority of people who is blissfully unaware both of the symptoms of sepsis or quite how many lives it claims every year.
My road to a full recovery was a long and difficult one after various health complications, but I am glad to say that I eventually made it to my own 70th birthday party in March last year and I have managed to clock up another birthday since then.
Since my close brush with death, I have done all that I can to raise awareness of the dangers of sepsis. In basic terms, sepsis is a life-threatening condition that arises when the body’s response to an infection injures its own tissues and organs. Sepsis can lead to shock, multiple organ failure and, ultimately, death if it is not detected swiftly and treated properly.
As a committed philanthropist, I have now made sepsis one of the many good causes that I support, both financially and in terms of the time I devote to sepsis awareness.
Today that support takes a significant step forward with the launch of a new campaign that I am organising in conjunction with The UK Sepsis Trust. The aim of the campaign is simple: to raise £500,000 for the charity and to save countless lives along the way.
I am asking you – both my friends and those who do not know me – to make a donation to The UK Sepsis Trust. I will match every £1 that is pledged with £1 of my own up to a total of £250,000. In short, if the public pledges £250,000, it will mean that – together with my own £250,000 – £500,000 will have been raised for this excellent charity.
Recently-released figures have revealed the scale of the problem that sepsis poses: it now affects over 250,000 people a year in the UK alone and, of these, some 44,000 will die.
The UK Sepsis Trust, which was founded in 2012, exists to raise awareness, and to train and educate health professionals about sepsis, as well as to help families who have experienced its destructive force.
However, this young charity needs us all to step up and do our bit. That’s why we are launching the #Ashcroft4SepsisUnited campaign. The more of us who unite against sepsis, the more lives we will save – together.
My final request is for you, please, to spread the word on social media so as many people as possible get to hear about sepsis and join the campaign. You never know when it might help save a life, and it could just be yours or the life of a family member or friend.