Thanet trio take on butterfly challenges to mark World Thyroid Day

Thyroid butterfly challenge trio Victoria Stone and Sam Stokes and Lorraine Williams

Thanet residents, Lorraine Williams, Victoria Stone and Sam Stokes are marking  World Thyroid Day and the start of International Thyroid Awareness Week, on 25th May, with butterfly themed challenges around the Isle.

Lorraine will be running around Broadstairs dressed as a butterfly. Sam and Victoria will be running 10K, all observing social distancing measures.

The three are raising awareness of thyroid disease and much needed funds for new patient charity, The Thyroid Trust, which is facing a funding crisis, as most charities are, during the Covid-19 pandemic. The trio are seeking donations, to help the charity continue its vital work. Some £500 has been raised already, including Gift Aid.

The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland in your neck and has been described as the engine of your body. Thyroid hormones can affect you in many different ways, from your state of mind down to your fingernails and toenails.

The Thyroid Trust wants more people to know about their thyroid and how it can affect them if it goes wrong.  Around one in 20 people have a thyroid condition, although it is more common in older people and in women, it can happen to anyone, at any age.  Usually thyroid disease is easily treated, but for some people it can be very hard to manage and scientists don’t yet fully understand why that is. A more personalised approach to treatment is needed.

Lorraine and Victoria both have thyroid disease. Sam is Victoria’s brother, so has seen the effects of thyroid illness first hand, as a close family member. The three met through Broadstairs based Houseproud Building Services’ boss, Michael Lambeth, who is Sam’s employer and has been an enthusiastic supporter of the new charity, having previously run a 10K in London for thyroid patients. Victoria works for Thanet solicitors Boys and Maughan, who she says have been very supportive and understanding of her condition.

Lorraine has lived in Broadstairs for nine years and has been involved in many local projects in that time.

She said: “Thyroid disease is common and usually quite easy to treat, but around 10% of patients can have a really hard time with it and I was one of those people, so I am absolutely determined to improve standards of care, access to treatment options and general awareness, so that others with thyroid disease can feel less alone.”

The Thyroid Trust campaigns for greater awareness and understanding, improved standards of care, access to treatment options that are known to be effective, more research and better quality information and support for thyroid patients.   They have been influential in persuading NHS England to revise prescribing guidance for a specialist treatment for hypothyroidism and have helped publish two major reports.

The charity has developed a registry of patient experiences and is seeking to partner with a research institution to ensure the stories people have shared can be used to inform healthcare policy makers and influence further research.

They organise regular talks with expert speakers, which are now taking place online. The Thyroid Trust website includes videos of some of their previous talks, as well as a short awareness video “Let’s Talk About Thyroid Health”, with more videos planned for the future. The events programme is supported by the National Lottery Awards for All.

Lorraine’s pink butterfly route will spell out the word THYROID – going through Thanet Road, Harbour Street, York Gate, Rectory Road, Oscar Road, the site of the Inflatable Giraffe (though it’s not there at the moment it’s marked on the map, so she’s decided it counts as a place) and to Dumpton Gap.

Sam and Victoria will wear Thyroid Trust T shirts which bear the slogan – ‘You’re not alone’ – signalling that important and comforting message to anyone with thyroid disease .

If anyone would like to support the runners the fundraising page is here

If you would like to do something yourself for International Thyroid Awareness Day there are lots of ideas on the charity website at https://www.thyroidtrust.org/thyroid-awareness-week-2020.html

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