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Cheeky Charlie Chimp » A Tribute by Doctor Ann Cuthbert

Cheeky Charlie Chimp

31st January, 2007

A Tribute by Doctor Ann Cuthbert

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I would like to spend a few minutes reflecting on Katie’s last four months, most of which were spent in hospital locally.

My first impression of Katie was of a vulnerable young woman, bewildered by the illness that had stopped her in her tracks. However, as we got to know each other I soon realised that I had met someone very special with enduring inner strength and determination who faced adversity head on.

Katie never faltered in her belief that she would defeat her illness and achieve all she aspired to academically and personally, and she had a great future to look forward to.

We often discussed her return to Norwich to complete her degree and tentatively planned her reintegration into “normal life”. She often chatted happily about her friends in Yorkshire, Norwich and Canada and how much they meant to her, and she eagerly anticipated their precious visits to see her in hospital.

We all enjoyed seeing Katie’s photo albums and walls adorned by pictures, and her many happy memories helped her through the darkest days.

Katie was a delightfully warm and generous girl, with an endearing innocence and spontaneity. She was demonstrative and tactile, and always enjoyed a hug. Katie’s hugs were special hugs, and I am sure that many of you will have been eager recipients of her affection!

Katie was never self-centred or self pitying and channelled her energy into getting to know everyone on the ward, and sharing their triumphs and disappointments like a sister, daughter and friend. We missed her when she was on leave, but shared her pleasure in the welcome, but brief trips home.

Katie adored her parents Allan and Liz, and I would like to pay tribute to them today, and, on Katie’s behalf, thank them for their unwavering love and support, and for the strength and composure they showed throughout Katie’s illness and treatment, as they watched their shining light gently fade. They are a remarkable and devoted couple.

Katie has left an indelible impression on all of us. We will all have our own special memories of her, and she will never be forgotten, nor will her resolute spirit be far from us. Her death has brought intense grief and distress to all who knew, loved and respected her, but hopefully it has brought us all a little closer together.

It is Katie’s parents wish that we seek something positive from her death to honour her memory, so I would like to finish with a short poem which reminds me of Katie….

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