All of us here at The Thyroid Trust were shocked and saddened to receive the dreadful news that our dear friend and Trustee, Theresa Baker, had passed away suddenly and unexpectedly at the beginning of March at her home in London.
Theresa will be known to many of you from her involvement as a volunteer and Trustee for the charity. For many years Theresa had been a regular helper at the Patient Support Events we hold in central London and would usually be found either on the registration desk, welcoming people to our meetings as they arrived, or behind the counter handing out teas and coffees - always greeting everyone with her lovely warm smile. Theresa also hosted several informal ‘thyroid friends’ get-togethers at the Wellcome Trust on Euston Road. Theresa was such a pleasure to be around and to have on the team - she was kind, considerate, humble, you could rely on her 100% - but she was also friendly and fun.
Theresa first became involved in the London thyroid group back in 2012. Like many of us involved with the charity, Theresa suffered with a thyroid condition herself and initially attended the meetings to find out how to better manage her own condition. In fact, at the very first meeting she attended, Theresa bought a copy of the Expert Patient Programme course book to support her quest for knowledge. As was her nature - and perhaps reflecting her background as an ex senior nurse - Theresa was keen to help others in a similar situation and began volunteering for the London thyroid group almost straight away, helping out at the support meetings, firstly when we held them at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead and then later in Covent Garden when we had to find a different venue for our meetings.
In 2017, when it looked as if the London thyroid group was at risk of closing, Theresa took a leading role in mobilising people to try and keep the group going. She knew how much the group mattered to so many people and, working alongside a small dedicated group of us, she was determined to keep it going.
Theresa contributed so much to The Thyroid Trust in so many ways - many of them unseen. She was active in raising funds for the charity and, in 2017, was part of a small group that travelled to Broadstairs to take part in a fund-raising walk along the coast to Ramsgate. It was on that very walk that the plans for a new charity started to take root.
In 2018, when we were offered funding to set up The Thyroid Trust as a national charity, Theresa was invited to be one of the founding Trustees. She took on the role with her usual calm level-headedness - she was an active Trustee and her contributions to meetings and the running of the charity were always well-thought out, sensible and valued by the other Board members. As the charity took shape and grew, Theresa never forgot its roots as a patient support group - she was always sensitive to what group members would be most concerned about and that remained foremost in her mind when contributing to Trustee meetings. Theresa brought a bright cheeriness to meetings and it was always a pleasure to see her there. Unfortunately, in recent months, Theresa’s ill health had prevented her from attending as many meetings as she would have liked. Often the technology would get the better of her but this didn’t deter her and she was good at keeping in touch by phone, maintaining links with friends right up until the end.
We have been contacted by many of our supporters who knew Theresa and who join us in mourning her sudden passing. All of these messages share a common theme - highlighting her wisdom and her calm, sensible demeanour. But, above all, we remember Theresa’s kindness, her warm and caring nature and that bright smile of hers. Theresa was a lovely lady, a good friend and a great ambassador for The Thyroid Trust - I hope she knew how much we all liked and respected her.
Rest in Peace, Theresa.
Karen George, on behalf of all your ‘Thyroid friends’
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