An Open Letter from Jason Evans to the Haemophilia community
To the Haemophilia community
In 2014 I was going about my life, as most people do, working, saving, living, life was good.
It was good, but it was permeated by a question, the same question that had existed in my life ever since I could ever remember… Why was my Father dead?
Since at least my early teens I had quietly and occasionally checked in on the various campaigns and attempts to achieve truth and justice in relation to what we now call the “Contaminated Blood Scandal”.
I had become aware that the Penrose Inquiry in Scotland was due to make it’s final report on 25th March 2015. I booked the day off work, I sat at home and I waited. Exactly what it was I was waiting for I’m not entirely sure, but I waited for something that for myself and many others never came. Perhaps it was closure I was waiting for, I don’t know.
I decided then and there that no longer would I wait for the train of truth to arrive on my doorstep, I would go and find it, somehow, it was a well trodden path, but a path that had never and still hasn’t been completed. What would happen over the next two years was an incredible personal journey of venturing into what was essentially the past of my Father who had died 25 years ago in 1993.
2016 was the first year in which I ever met anyone else in person who had been infected or affected by infected factor concentrates. Truth be told, it was the first time I had ever met a Haemophiliac since my Father died. It was outside Westminster and a protest had been organised, again truth be told, I had played a part in instigating the idea, not knowing what the hell to expect.
It was strange meeting other people with shared experience, people who knew. People who understood. It was on this day that I realised something fundamental, I was not alone. My Father was not alone and that the other people affected by this were real, they existed and they were out there. It was probably on this day that I realised what I wanted to do next in life. It had meaning. To anyone reading this who remains isolated and alone, do not remain so, there is no need and it will do you no good.
We all know what happened next, the legal action, the inquiry. I had endless meetings, phone calls, e-mail’s, researching, trips to the archive, it became life. A life some already knew, including some who had died.
In 2017, in the midst of this crazy journey, a journey where I wasn’t exactly sure even what I was doing. I saw a documentary series on Netflix called Wormwood, there was a phrase in this programme that stuck with me, right in the last episode, it said “when the value of the lost loved one is infinite, the sacrifice becomes infinite”. This, I know to be true.
These days, many people attribute campaign progress as being in part to my personal efforts, but the reality is that I have been inspired by all of those whom I have met and spoken to in these last few years, each one has taught me something and many have provided me with information that has been invaluable. Many are now friends, some I have disagreed with, some I had arguments with. But whatever the relationship, there is one thing we have in common and always will, this.
The reality is that we all share a common experience, a life defining experience, and now, we will take this journey, this inquiry, this legal action, together. This community is strong, I have seen that, and it will endure what is to come, however hard that may be.
This campaign, this journey, it is bigger than any one individual, we know that. A significant proportion of those we fight for are dead. They will never see justice, none of us will ever see real justice, however deserving it may be, however, I believe all you have in this world is your legacy, this is the beginning of ours.
Let’s make it count.