Last night, Channel Five broadcast a 'highlights' version of the Tesco Mum of the Year Awards. Jane Plumb, founder and chair of the charity, Group B Strep Support was honoured with the 'Campaigning Mum of the Year' award.
Nominated by her son, Ollie, Jane was recognised for her immense efforts fighting for greater awareness of the devastation caused by Group B Strep following the death of her son, Theo, at just seventeen hours old. Since Theo's death in 1996, Jane has become an immense advocate for greater awareness of the condition and continues to campaign for the ECM Gold Standard Test to be made available to all pregnant women on the NHS.
Tragically NICE still do not support the introduction of this test, despite worldwide medical evidence demonstrating it's effectiveness and the massive reductions of Group B Strep Infections in countries where the test has been introduced. At this point, the GBS infection rate in the UK is rising year on year.
As Adam was infected by Group B Strep, which triggered Meningitis at his birth, Jane asked me to share Adam's story with Channel Five as part of the video broadcast during the awards ceremony at the Savoy Hotel and subsequently aired on Channel Five on Mothering Sunday (and it will be re-aired this Wednesday evening). The version that aired yesterday was a 'highlights' version of the ceremony which was initially over two hours long and so my participation in this video is very brief.
However, for those who missed the broadcast and wish to see it, you can find the 'catch-up' version at the Channel Five On Demand website by following this link. Jane's award is presented at 19:10 of the video.
In due course, Group B Strep Support will make the entire video available on their website at which point I will share the complete version.
In the meantime, I would like to offer my heartfelt congratulations to Jane and to the charity for this award. Being the humble woman she is, I know Jane will instantly confirm that the support of her entire team has made this possible and that is of course true; I also know that without Jane's determination and sheer stubbornness, GBSS would not be where it is today. I am more grateful than I can possible say that she was able to channel her grief for Theo into founding this amazing charity. We have received so much support during our own trauma of enduring Group B Strep and without Jane and the team, it would have been so much harder.
It was therefore my honour to participate in this video, even if it did mean laying aside my pride and crying on national television! I truly hope this promotes greater awareness of the devastation of Group B Strep and the fact that it CAN be stopped.
If you are pregnant, or know anyone who is pregnant, please contact Group B Strep Support to learn how you can easily and affordably buy a private test to learn whether or not you are a GBS carrier.