Broadstairs resident Lorraine Williams and friends will be celebrating World Thyroid Day and the start of International Thyroid Awareness Week with a butterfly themed seaside trek around the town on Wednesday (May 25)..
They are keen for anyone interested to join them for an informal walk around the town, or for some refreshments afterwards on Viking Bay, to help raise awareness of thyroid disease.
Lorraine has hypothyroidism and runs a new charity for thyroid patients, The Thyroid Trust, dedicated to awareness raising, reliable information provision, high level advocacy work and peer support.
The thyroid friends will be trekking around Broadstairs – enjoying the town and happy to talk to anyone interested in finding out more about thyroid disease. Lorraine will be dressed as a butterfly as she has done for the last two years. Whether or not anyone else dresses up remains to be seen!
The thyroid is a butterfly shaped organ in your neck which controls how quickly your body and mind use energy. 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 has lived in Broadstairs for 11 years and has been involved in lots of local projects in that time. She said: “I had a rotten time when my thyroid condition was first diagnosed and it took about 18 months before I got back to anything resembling normality.
“It can slow down your ability to think as much as your ability to do things and so it’s really important to me that more people are aware of the signs and know how to support anyone in their lives who may be struggling, because the correct treatment should restore wellbeing but sometimes patients are not taken as seriously as they should be and many spend years in a very poor condition and unable to advocate for themselves. Thyroid disease runs in families so if you have a relative who is unwell it’s worth genning up in your own interests as well as theirs.”
Last year’s event raised £1250 for the charity. With the cost of living crisis biting and making it hard for many people to support charities this year, Lorraine says the most important thing is to get people talking about thyroid disease and for those affected to feel less alone. The campaign theme is #TalkThyroid.
During the pandemic the Thyroid Trust has been continuing its information and support events online and now has a YouTube channel with videos of expert talks and patient interviews. These include one with the author Michael Rosen, who has hypothyroidism which took 15 years to be diagnosed. He has become an ambassador for the charity.
A recent award of £9,900 by the National Lottery Awards for All will enable the organisation to continue and develop the events programme. There is lots planned for International Thyroid Awareness Week, including a seminar on Graves Disease with leading clinicians, a Graves’ Thyroid Cafe support call and a Poetry Thyroid Cafe with poet Anthony Salandy. Details are on the Trust website.
There are Thyroid Trust T-shirts and badges available from the charity’s website but it’s really just a social opportunity and chance to TalkThyroid.
If anyone would like to support the trek by joining in or making a donation, the fundraising page is at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lorraine-williams-ttt-22
If you would like to do something else yourself for International Thyroid Awareness Week there are lots of ideas on the charity website and an opportunity to post your own plans on the #TalkThyroid page.
Find The Thyroid Trust website here https://www.thyroidtrust.org/
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCieO-MH5qgL24bRcXLOZ0DA/playlists