Katherine Crawley was the first patient to be supported by Butterfly and as such became known as the Butterfly Baby (more like Butterfly Babe really, she is sooo beautiful . . .).
She was also the first person that I was able to speak with who had Thyroid Cancer following my own diagnosis.
We helped each other, we have grown very close over the last eight years and I love her like a kid sister.
Katherine was only 26 when she was diagnosed and didn’t know that she had cancer until after she was admitted to the ward for her thyroidectomy.
She was given her diagnosis behind the bed curtains on an open ward.
When Katherine woke from her operation her younger brother Michael was sitting at her bedside, he was crying.
Michael and Katherine were very close, only 18 months between them. Michael was a huge support to Katherine following her diagnosis.
He loved life and like his sister lived it to the full. He was single, worked as an accountant, he loved to party and was passionate about travelling.
His outgoing personality led to him having many friends.
Sadly in February 2009 Michael died. He was 32. His death was unexpected and a huge shock to the family.
Michael was in the process of clearing his mortgage so he could give up his job and travel (and had done particularly well in doing this).
He had a ‘things to do’ list where he’d written, ‘Give up work’ and ‘Travel’. His next adventure was the Orient Express or something over the Himalayas and China.
He’d travelled fairly extensively already, lived in San Francisco when he was 19 and then his trip of a lifetime was in South America last year.
He’d visited Christ the Redeemer, Angel Falls, and Machu Picchu.
Despite their sadnessKatherine and her family were determined that something positive should come from this awful situation and asked that donations be sent to Butterfly.
It is testament to Michael’s popularity that donations were received from as far away as USA and to date have totalled an outstanding £2,000.
I asked my trustees if Butterfly could fund a much-needed break for a patient each year to the value of £500. They agreed unanimously.
I asked Michael’s family how they would feel about having the award named after Michael in view of their exceptional support and Michael’s love of travel.
They were delighted.
Heartfelt thanks go to Katherine and her family.
Nominations for next year’s award can be made to the trustees at anytime. You can nominate yourself, your family or any deserving thyroid cancer patient.
Please say why you feel the award is deserved and how it would make a difference.