‘Simon was amazing. I miss him more than ever.’
The Infected Blood Inquiry marked a turning point for Amanda, whose brother Simon Cummings died as a result of treatment using contaminated blood products.
As more information emerged from the inquiry, Amanda felt strongly that she needed to be part of the process.
Amanda said: “The inquiry made me realise that I had an important story to tell. I had never spoken out about Simon before, but I felt that his voice needed to be heard, through me.”
Simon died at the age of 38 in 1996. He had severe haemophilia A with inhibitors but he never let his condition define him. A much-loved radio presenter on County Sound in Guildford, Simon was very open about his haemophilia and even made a documentary in 1983 entitled “Do they really die if they cut themselves?” to introduce himself to his listeners. When he was in hospital for three weeks undergoing traction to try to straighten his legs, he presented his programme from his hospital bed.
Simon had the idea of producing a charity single in the 1980s to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital entitled “Everybody’s got a crisis in their life” which stars Cliff Richard and other celebrities.
Amanda said: “Time does not heal, if anything I miss Simon even more. He would have been 61 now, that is a lot of years for him not to have had. I am constantly reminded of how much he has missed.”
“I feel sadness but also anger. How could they let this happen? I will never know if Simon understood the extent of this scandal – it is one of the many questions that I’ll never been able to ask him.”Amanda, Simon’s sister
Amanda has submitted a written statement to the inquiry and follows the evidence as much as she can.
She said: “All of the stories are just so desperately sad. When you see the scale of it – this scandal has wiped out that whole generation. I follow what’s happening at the inquiry, until I can’t take any more, and then I have to step back for a while. We’re all suffering, but at the same time it is cathartic to know there are others who understand and have been through this too.”
For Amanda, it is important the truth behind the contaminated blood scandal finally comes out, but also that her family’s loss – and the grief of all those who have also suffered – is acknowledged.
She said: “Simon was this amazing person. He inspired everybody who met him and I would like the world to know what a wonderful person he was.”