Patient Support Contacts

The contact details on these pages are intended for use only by Thyroid Cancer patients and their families seeking support. They are not to be used by the press, pharmaceutical companies or any other party.


078Welcome to the Patient Contact page! Everyone on this page has had Thyroid Cancer and is happy to speak to people seeking help and support.

All are members of the Butterfly Thyroid Cancer Trust and as such have signed the group’s guidelines and confidentiality documents.


Our volunteers can provide support and information gained from their own personal experiences. However, they cannot provide medical advice.

080Please remember that everyone on the page is giving their time voluntarily and as such we would respectfully request that you join Butterfly Thyroid Cancer Trust if you would like to contact one of our volunteers. It is usually quicker to contact by telephone.

If you experience difficulty in contacting someone, please call our helpline for advice.


If you are interested in supporting others with our disease, please contact us.


Carol Burgess
My name is Carol and I live in Dudley, West MIdlands.
I was diagnosed in April 2014 age 49 with Follicular Thyroid Cancer. I had been having check ups for two years for a Goitre and finally decided to have it removed when tests showed slight growth.
I had surgery to remove half my thyroid. Biopsy tests came  back that the lump was cancerous so I had a further Total Thyroidectomy in June 14 followed by RAI in August 14. This was carried out using Thyrogen so I didn’t have to go hypo. I had some vocal issues following surgery but that Improved with healing time and vocal therapy.
I returned to work in August 14 to my full time role in education. I have had minor saliva gland issues but they are monitored and managed.
I take responsibility for my own health and liaise with my Doctor to ensure the Levothyroxine is working to my advantage to suit my health needs and lifestyle. I walk my two greyhounds regularly to help keep fit and have an interest in musical theatre.

I am happy to talk to anyone going through a similar experience.
Contact: 07905557786
Email Carol
Lisa AbbsLisa Abbs
Papillary Thyroid Cancer diagnosed July 2006, aged 31
x 2 operations July and August 2006
Post operative hypocalcaemia
RAI October 2006
Salivary gland problems resolved with no treatment
Follow up scan June 2007: clear
Currently well (follow-up with both surgeon and oncologist)
Lisa is married with two children, works part-time and lives in Nottinghamshire.
Lisa was our fundraiser of the year in 2007 raising £2,000 from her Half Marathon.
We also think she must deserve the title of ‘most beautiful smile of the year’ with those fabulous teeth!
Email Lisa

North East England

Gary Stafford
Diagnosed with Papillary Thyroid Cancer August 2008, after removal of what was at first thought to be a benign cyst in July 2008 at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle
Total thyroidectomy
RAI x 1
Challenge scan July 2009 clear
Email Gary

Tyne and Wear

How to find the Northern Centre for Cancer Care
The Centre is accessed via the main hospital entrance from Freeman Road, if you are on foot follow the signs through the main hospital to NCCC.
If you are driving take the road round to the left of the main building, follow signs to NCCC, go through the security barrier and park in the multi storey car park, there is a charge to park.
There are a limited number of disabled parking spaces directly opposite the entrance to NCCC which are free.
The clinic is situated on the ground floor and is signposted from the main reception area.

Rev Allison Harding
Diagnosed 2001
Follicular Thyroid Cancer
Surgeries x 2 FRH, Newcastle
Post-op hypocalcaemia and voice problems now resolved
RAI x 1 NCCC, Newcastle
Challenge Scans x 2
Currently well
Allison is a vicar. She is married with two grown up children.
Email Allison

Amy Horton
AmyDiagnosed 2008
Papillary Thyroid Cancer
Surgery x 2 at Scarborough General Hospital
RAI x 1 at NCCC, Newcastle
Challenge scan with Thyrogen 2008
Currently well
Read Amy’s story
Email: Amy

Dawn Golightly
DawnDiagnosed 2004
Papillary/follicular mix Thyroid Cancer
No post-op calcium /voice problems
Surgery x 2 RVI, Newcastle
RAI x 1 NCCC, Newcastle
Currently well
Diagnosed whilst pregnant
Dawn is married with two teenage daughters and was pregnant with Olivia (now three) when she was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer.
Read Dawn’s story
Email Dawn
Tel: 0191 519 4146 after 6 pm

Irene McGowan
Diagnosed 2002
Papillary Thyroid Cancer
Surgery x 1 FRH, Newcastle
Post-op hypocalcaemia and voice problems, now resolved
RAI x 1 NCCC, Newcastle
Irene has two grown up daughters and is a doting grandma. She worked in the NHS as an auxiliary nurse for 18 years. She has recently retired and does a lot of voluntary work for the Butterfly Thyroid Cancer Trust which includes visiting all of the patients while they are in hospital having their RAI.
Email Irene
Tel: 0191 660 0390, 10 am-7 pm

Janet Nef
Diagnosed 2005
Papillary Thyroid Cancer
Surgeries x 2 FRH Newcastle
No RAI to date
Two Challenge Scans with Thyrogen, latest Feb 2008 – clear!
Currently well
Janet is a local business woman. She is married and has two children.
Email Janet
Tel: 0773 6634488 after 6 pm

Kate Farnell MBE
Diagnosed 2000 Follicular Thyroid Cancer
Surgeries x 2 BUPA Hospital, Washington
Post-surgery hypocalcaemia and major voice problems. Now resolved though cord palsy remains.
RAI 1 x NCCC, Newcastle General Hospital
Challenge Scans x 2, one with Thyrogen
Malignant Melanoma diagnosed 2001
Currently well
Kate is the Founder/Director of the Butterfly Thyroid Cancer Trust and works as the Patient Cancer Advisor in the Thyroid Cancer Clinic at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care (NCCC), Freeman Hospital in order to support fellow patients.
Kate was awarded the Pfizer Excellence in Oncology Award in 2006 for her work with Butterfly.
Read Kate’s story
Email Kate
Tel: 01207 545469, 10 am-4 pm, Mon-Fri

Katherine Murray
Diagnosed 2001
Papillary Thyroid Cancer with lymph node involvement
Neck Dissection FRH Newcastle
Post-op hypocalcaemia now resolved
RAI x 1 NCCC, Newcastle
Currently well
At the age of 27 Katherine was the first patient to be supported by the Butterfly Thyroid Cancer Trust and as such is known as the ‘Butterfly Baby’!
In 2006 she became the first ‘Butterfly Bride’. She works for Shaw Trust as a Personal Development Advisor.
Katherine is currently unavailable – she gave birth to her first baby in May 2010. Many congratulations!

North West England

Sarah Gibbons
Sarah Gibbons From Southport with treatment in Aintree Hospital, The Royal Liverpool & Broadgreen Hospital and Spire Liverpool Hospital. Follow-ups with surgeon, endocrinologist and Nuclear Medicine consultant.
Diagnosed with papillary carcinoma August 2008 (age 34)
Total thyroidectomy and lymph nodes removed September 2008
Possible metastases treated with high-dose RAI November 2008
Superficial parotidectomies to treat salivary gland damage November 2009 and April 2010
Sarah is currently very well and studying for a PGCE to become a primary school teacher! She has been married for 13 years and has two fantastic children. She knows how difficult it is to manage a cancer diagnosis when you are a mum.
Read Sarah’s story
Email Sarah


Elaine Francey
I live in Edinburgh, Scotland and am married with one teenage daughter who keeps me on my toes! I work as an Office Manager for a fantastic Brand Agency and love my job.
In 2009 whilst living in Canada I had a total thyroidectomy for a papillary thyroid cancer and unfortunately suffered a vocal chord palsy to left chord during surgery.
I came back to live in Edinburgh in 2010 where I had RAI done at Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital.
I am now having annual check-ups and my follow up care is being done by a wonderful Endocrinologist.
Life is good!
Contact either by email on or mobile 07825 957 065
Elaine xxx

South East England

Emma Cooper
Diagnosed with Papillary Thyroid Cancer 2008
Surgery x 1 total thyroidectomy (Hammersmith Hospital)
1 x RAI thyrogen (Harley Street)
Post-operative hypocalcaemia
Temporary bilateral vocal cord palsy post-surgery
Emma is a 34 year old documentary producer/director at the BBC, living in London, with her husband George and “Butterfly Baby” Harry.
She was diagnosed and then found she was pregnant; surgery was performed at 16 weeks pregnancy.
She gave birth to Harry in September 2009 and had her radioactive iodine therapy six weeks later. Her voice is now completely fine.
Her scar is supercool and she is now a happy Butterfly girl.
Email Emma
Tel: 07968 012896

Rachel Newton
RachelMy name is Rachel and I live in Windsor, Berkshire. I work part-time and have three children.
I was diagnosed with Follicular Carcinoma in April 2010. IÂ’d had a lump on the front of my neck, near my collar bone, for some time and after 2 inconclusive fine needle aspirations I had an operation to remove half of my thyroid to perform a biopsy.
After weeks of uncertainty as to whether the lump was cancerous or not, BTCT recommended a pathologist who was very experienced with thyroid cancers. After changing hospitals, I had a second operation in August 2010 to remove the rest of my thyroid, followed by RAI in October 2010. This was carried out using Thyrogen so I did not have to go hypo.
In 2012 I had a stimulated thyroglobulin blood test (also using Thyrogen) which showed my thyroglobulin was virtually undetectable. Great news! I am well, and manage pretty well on the Levothyroxine. I would be very happy to talk to anyone going through a similar experience.
Read Rachel’s story
Email Rachel
Tel: 01753 339743

South West England

Helen Manisterhelen-manister
Papillary Thyroid Cancer (multi focal) – diagnosed February 2010 – aged 47 years after two lumps were discovered on my thyroid
x 2 operations – January 2010 and March 2010
RAI June 2010 with Thyrogen (signed up for HiLo Clinical trial)
RAI December 2010 followed by Challenge Scan with Thyrogen
January 2011 – All Clear
Follow up with Surgeon / Endocrinologist and Oncology
I am married to David with two boys – Harry, age 20 and Charlie 15. I work part time and live in Bath, Somerset.
I would be happy to talk to anyone going through this and offer any help that I can.
Email Helen
Mobile: 07970 270888

East Anglia

Cory Varney
coreyMy name is Cory, I’m 22 and I live near Norwich. I’m working as a freelance journalist while job hunting, having completed a journalism degree with first class honours.

I was diagnosed with follicular thyroid cancer in October 2012. It all came about after a wonderful holiday in the Isles of Scilly, when my mum spotted a large lump on my neck. After inconclusive blood tests and biopsies, an initial operation revealed it to be cancer – cue deferring university for the next few months, another operation and radioactive iodine treatment.

After a few scans, I got back to university for the second-half of my first year. From there, I had to do my degree back to front which wasn’t the easiest! I was given the all clear in September 2013 and have had no problems since, even if I do forget the occasional thyroxine dose here and there.

I continue to have yearly check-ups to keep on top of everything but I’m feeling stronger than ever. I’m happy to talk to you about your experiences and be as helpful as I can be.
Email Corey
Tel: 07759 283509


Maha Phillips
My name is Maha, and I was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer in 2014. I had surgery to remove half my thyroid, and this was followed by a total thyroidectomy a few months later, which also included the removal of some lymph nodes. I have had some subsequent voice issues, but had some vocal therapy which really helped. I have stayed well and healthy since then, and am very grateful! I’m married, and live with my husband and son in London. Being diagnosed with thyroid cancer can be a big shock. I’m happy to talk to anyone going through this and be a support if I can.
Email Maha


Helen Hobrough
HelenDiagnosed December 2006
Papillary Thyroid Cancer
Surgery – thyroidectomy at University Hospital of Wales, December 2006
2 x RAI at Velindre Cancer Centre, Cardiff
After 30+ years of teaching in a High School I am enjoying retirement and I am the chairperson of the Thyroid Cancer Support Group Wales. This keeps me very active and involved with thyroid cancer patient support.
I am married with two children and three grandchildren.
I have two Cavalier King Charles spaniels.
Read Helen’s story
Email Helen
Tel: 07725 666825

Adam Morris
AdamAdam had a lump in his neck for about two years. He realises now that ignoring it wasn’t the best thing to do.
Hi, my name is Adam. I had a lump on my neck and did nothing about it until one day it became too large to ignore.
It was about the size of an orange. By the time I was diagnosed the disease had spread to my lungs.
Diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer January 2011
Total thyroidectomy
2 x RAI
I received the all clear in July 2012 and am having regular follow up
I am 30 and I live just outside Chepstow. I would be happy to talk to anyone going through this and offer any help that I can.
Email Adam
Tel: 07800 976405

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