'Are we nothing more than experiments?' - Norfolk grandmother to give evidence on infected blood today
Michelle Tolley was one of thousands of people who were given blood products infected with hepatitis viruses and HIV in the 1970s and 80s. As the Sparham grandmother prepares to give evidence to the inquiry into the scandal on Tuesday, she writes exclusively for this newspaper about her thoughts, feelings, and fears one week in.
At the beginning of the Infected Blood Inquiry for victims last week the room was full to capacity, and as the first witness approached the stand the room fell silent and you could have heard a pin drop.
Listening to all the very brave speakers last week, at the inquiry for those contaminated and affected with either Hepatitis C, HIV, Hepatitis B, D, VCJD plus other pathogens, it brought tears to my eyes and a hurt feeling in my throat which cannot be described.
The first week has been an emotional roller coaster for me personally. I have never experienced such emotions in such a short space of time.
The one thing that was clearly obvious from the start was the compassion and empathy that victims shared with each other, regardless of how we were all infected.
These feelings and emotions cannot be captured by any one video, photo or report, I was there all week and I admit that I shed many tears and will be there next week also.
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I have been called to present my own evidence on Tuesday, May 7 and have a wonderful support team behind me, which I cannot thank enough from Contaminated Whole Blood UK.
I believe that the government has a responsibility and a duty of care to ensure that families of this historic tragedy get justice.
And regardless of whether they are from England, Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland, there should never be of any difference in the so-called support offered.
How dare they treat us like this, are we nothing more than experiments?
The government has a responsibility and a duty of care to ensure that the families of this historic tragedy are fully recognised.
Our lives were stolen, ruined and completely destroyed.
We were given a death sentence for committing no crimes.
How can you put a price on all of the lives that have been destroyed?