Louise McVaddy (1980 - 2010)
Many of you reading this will know that we lost Louise McVaddy and her unborn son, Michael Edward McVaddy very suddenly on the 12th June 2010. Lou was a great friend and colleague who was 2 weeks away from starting her maternity leave when she passed away, Michael had been due to be born on 9th August.
Louise was aged thirty, 32 weeks pregnant, very healthy and blooming when she suddenly became very ill. Louise was taken from us in a matter of five hours because her blood pressure and blood sugar were so high her body could not cope with it. The cause of this extreme situation was an adrenal tumour. Louise had no warning signs or symptoms of this very rare condition.
People we speak to don’t even know where their adrenal glands are. There is a massive lack of awareness about what is actually a very rare cancer.
So... my husband, Sean, and I are climbing Kilimanjaro on the 4th to 14th June 2011 to raise money and equally importantly to raise awareness, specifically for adrenal tumour research.
Lou was a very special person to me, both personally and professionally - those of you who knew her at work, and those who knew her personally, know what an amazing woman she was, everyone who met her or who dealt with her thought so very highly of her.
Lou at work can only be described as Mrs Efficiency. In meetings she would take pages and pages of notes in the neatest handwriting I have ever seen and written at speed. Many of you will know that at the time when Regan finally got round to proposing (!) they were part way through a round the world trip, Lou had asked for a sabatical from work (how would we cope?!).
So because of her efficiency, prolific note taking and attention to detail, it came as no surprise to us that while they were gone every so often we would get an EPIC email to tell us all about what they had been up to. We used to have to save them until lunchtime because they would take so long to read!
So when Sean and I were at friends for the evening a couple of weeks ago, and I was telling them about Lou and Kili, about raising money and awareness for Adrenal Tumours, one of the guys suggested doing an online blog. A diary each day, a warts and all account of how the trip was going so that everyone at home can keep up with us, through the highs and the lows. I was saying how doing something like that was so "Lou", that she would love the idea if she were here… as that was said "Brown Eyed Girl" started to play in the background. We like to think that perhaps this might have been a little message from Lou to tell us that she approves, and so this is how this page came to be.
So this is just the beginning… as I write this we are "T minus 11 and counting" … and already we are a bit excited, but also apprehensive, so desperate to make sure we get to the summit and do her proud and do Regan, Irene and David proud in her memory, and raise as much cash and awareness as possible.
We have set up a page for online donations if you would like to support the cause: www.justgiving.com/rachel-bennetts
Regan and his band of merry men and one woman are also doing the Three Peaks Challenge on 28th of June in her memory. Many of the guys just want to complete it, but Regan and his brothers are aiming to complete it in just 24hrs. You can visit their just giving page at www.justgiving.com/Louises3PeaksChallenge/3.
We felt very strongly that we wanted to raise money that would go directly to research into adrenal tumours. Because adrenal tumours are rare, progress with regard to their diagnosis and treatment can only be achieved by combining the efforts of researchers and clinicians from several countries. To overcome these difficulties and to ensure that significant process is made, an European Network for the Study of Adrenal Tumours was created. This is Ens@t.
Because the registered office for Ens@t is in Paris we are donating to them via the Claire Khan Trust, which is administered by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Charity (Birmingham). The Claire Khan Trust (Fund Number 12-3-187) was set up by the mother of Claire Khan who also lost her life to an adrenal tumour and you can read her story and find out more about Ens@t and the work they do at www.ensat.org.