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My 'thank you' to Dr Kate Granger

Following the death of the inspirational Dr Kate Granger, Tes Smith, who has closely followed her work, says thank you.
hospice-staff-celebrate-hello-my-name-is (cropped)
We have a lot to thank Dr Kate Granger for.   

On Saturday, the 34-year-old doctor, who had tackled her diagnosis of a rare form of cancer with steely determination and vigour, died at St Gemma's Hospice in Leeds.   

So began an outpouring of grief from thousands of people. Many that knew her. Many that only knew of her thanks to her inspirational work during the past few years. I am one of those. An onlooker, if you will. However, the news was still a true blow yesterday.    

I mentioned we have a lot to thank her for. Below are just some of the reasons she's made such an impact on my life - and on many other lives - over the past few years.     

Thank you Kate for...  

...your bucket list   
From the simple aim of visiting Chester Zoo with your family, to the more tricky target of being an extra in Coronation Street, to the more extravagant desires of dinner at the Gavroche, your bucket list carried with it an important message: that there's life to be lived post a terminal diagnosis. It's a message we strongly advocate in the hospice world and oh, did you prove it!    

It was a joy to witness you tick off items on your list, to marvel at the surprises organised by those that love you and to watch you toasting from your hospice bed as you celebrated reaching your fundraising target of £250,000 for the Yorkshire Cancer Centre.   

You also reminded us that sometimes all you need to be happy is to have the people you love within arm's reach.  

...your honesty about illness   
Sometimes - often - cancer is very nasty. The pain, the discomfort, the side-effects of chemotherapy, the fear of hospital stays, the disappointment when plans are cancelled, the tiredness; you never shied from the grim and testing realities of the disease.   

I thank you also for sharing your thoughts so openly.  Your Twitter account has been a source of inspiration, anguish, emotion and laughter to many and was obviously the breeding ground for #HelloMyNameIs.  

You've reached people across the globe and touched more lives than I think you could ever comprehend - teaching us all some very important messages along the way.   

...championing hospices   
From the moment you arrived at St Gemma's, the praise and positive messages about the holistic, compassionate and personalised care they gave began. From the photo of you tucking into a bowl of strawberries watching Wimbledon to the recognition of the emotional support they gave you; you've shed a light on the fantastic work not only of St Gemma's but of hospices across this country caring for others in just the same way. 
It goes without saying that we thank you for #HelloMyNameIs. Saint Francis Hospice officially declared its support on the 2nd February 2014 but it's a mantra we've long promoted. Every person has individual needs, desires, fears and concerns - and must be treated as a person, not a number or a disease.  

Your clever campaign reminds us of the impact something as simple as an introduction can make and it's been incredible to watch hospitals, hospices, GP surgeries and even businesses across this country sign up to the scheme.   

Saint Francis Hospice staff proudly supporting Kate's campaign.

...your legacy  
I thank you for your legacy and for the difference you will continue to make to the lives of people navigating the complex and often impersonal world of health care.  

I for one will always aspire to the values you so passionately fought for and will proudly keep your legacy alive - as will everyone at Saint Francis Hospice.