Little yellow ducks that could help to save lives

Carolyn and Olivia at Christine's wool stall in Todmorden Market, with one of the Little Duck Project knitted ducks
Carolyn and Olivia at Christine's wool stall in Todmorden Market, with one of the Little Duck Project knitted ducks

If you see a little yellow duck around town - or much further afield - it is there with a purpose.

One such knitted duck is at Christine’s Wool Stall at Todmorden Market Hall and along with a poster has been placed there by Todmorden resident Carolyn Whittaker to support the Yellow Duck Project.

Founded in memory of a young woman called Clare Cruickshank, who had the condition cystic fibrosis, it aims to encourage as many people as possible to register as organ, tissue, blood and stem cell donors - because by doing so, you could save someone’s life.

Clare loved little yellow ducks, hence the project’s name, and Carolyn decided to do her best to support it after her husband Roger lost his fight against leukaemia in April at the age of 61.

Recently the Todmorden News reported the story of Walsden man Chris Barker who is set to have a lifesaving stem cell transplant. Chris was diagnosed with MDS in May 2011, which caused him to develop acute myeloid leukaemia.

Carolyn said: “I knitted the little yellow duck for Christine’s stall because people ask about it and it encourages them to look at the website and find out more about it. In all I and my granddaughter Olivia have knitted and sent out about 50 ducks to be left in a variety of places with the website details.

“They’ve gone abroad too, including California and Turkey,” she said.

September saw Olivia, five, taking one of the ducks to her classmates at Walsden St Peter’s School where she proudly spoke about her grandad and the project.

The Little Yellow Duck website www.thelittleyellowduckproject.org has a World Map of Ducks on there - people are encoraged to log where one is found and as people sometimes take the ducks with them, the message is spread further, said Carolyn.

“It is so, so hard to get a match for stem cell treatment. The project website and its Facebook page is doing a lot to encourage people to register for donations,” she said.