Debra, the charity for people with the skin condition Epidermolysis Bullosa, has doubled its supporter base after a graphic TV documentary showing the final months of a man with the condition.
The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off, shown on Channel 4 on 25 March, also succeeded in substantially raising the profile of EB, a genetic condition that causes the skin to blister at the slightest friction.
Within half an hour of the programme finishing, Debra had received £11,000 in pledges from members of the public, many of whom set up standing orders to the charity. To date, the total raised has reached £152,000, but the charity expects the final figure to exceed £200,000 once postal donations and Gift Aid have been processed.
"Our next task is to run an effective supporter development programme to maintain new donors, and develop those who gave one-off donations," said Debra's director of fundraising and communications Mark Smith.
The documentary, watched by 4.6 million people - 18 per cent of the viewing audience - followed the story of EB sufferer and Debra trustee Jonny Kennedy.
Like many sufferers, Kennedy contracted skin cancer, and died last December, aged 36.
The charity says the success of the programme is partly due to an integrated campaign run in the weeks before the show was screened. The campaign was bolstered by Debra supporter and model Nell McAndrew, who befriended Kennedy.
Smith joined Debra from Barnardo's in November, and has been tasked with doubling the charity's income over the next three to five years (Third Sector, 26 November 2003).