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For The Love Of Mrs Kitley

March 7, 2014

There are some people who are obviously inspirational.   Mother Theresa.  Corrie Ten Boom*.  Miranda**.  

They exude charisma and derring do and, well, an inner power that has the capacity to shock and awe.  

And then there are your friends and acquaintances.  These are people with whom you may have grown up, or who marry friends or with whom you work day by day and who seem utterly ordinary, as you may well seem to them.  And then, it may be, that one day you realise that they are far from ordinary; that they are, in fact, so completely extra-ordinary that they take on almost super-human status.

I have a friend like that.  Her name is Mrs Kitley (or Charley, to her friends). 

Charley married my friend Rich.  I sang at their wedding but, as is often the case with wives of male friends, haven’t really ever sat down and chatted to her for very long.  We’ve probably talked in the sense of having a deep and involved conversation once or twice in my life.  When we lived in Israel, however, I would send long-winded (can you believe it?) and immensely details emails home.  it was rare that anyone replied, but Charley did.  She would send me a much more pithy and interesting email back with snapshots of family life.  It was through this correspondence that our friendship grew. 

A couple of years ago, Charley discovered she had bowel cancer.  She is in her early 30s and has two small children.  it’s not something you expect to happen to you, certainly not at that age.  It was a pretty devastating prognosis, but Charley is, it turns out, not the type to take something that is merely life-threatening and deeply unpleasant as a chance to be in a really bad mood and retreat from the world.  Far from it.  

Since she was diagnosed she has had over 30 sessions of chemotherapy.

She has learnt to fly a helicopter.  

She has had major surgery.

She has taught her children to ski.

She has had over 25 hours of radiotherapy.

She has written one of the most entertaining and uplifting blogs you will find on the internet and it’s here.  Enjoy. 

Now, however, things have become serious.  Lord Saatchi is promoting a bill through the House of Lords which will enable doctors to explore innovative methods of treatment at the request of the patient without fear of prosecution.  This is something that Charley is passionate about.  Too many times, it seems, once the limits of conventional medicine have been reached, the shutters come down and the patient is told that there are no more avenues to explore.  For someone like Charley who will do anything it takes to see her daughter start school that’s just not good enough.  Doctors who wish to try something non-conventional should be supported in that choice. 

Charley has been invited to the House of Lords to explain what the bill would mean from a patient’s perspective.  This could be fun. Last week she thought she had an imaginary daughter in Waitrose, thanks to the pills she’s on at the moment.  However she’s pulled it off once, when invited to an initial consultation and put her point forward so well to Lord Saatchi that she’s been invited back to address a wider audience. 

She’ll be great, and she’ll make a fabulous impression I am sure.  What will really help, however, is to have additional widespread public support for the bill.

It’s all on the internet at The Saatchi Bill.  There are detailed explanations of what the bill proposes and, most crucially, there is a link on the site to show your support.  

Please, please, please, for the love of Mrs Kitley, sign up.    



*If you haven’t read ‘The Hiding Place’ about the life of Ms Ten Boom, you have a treat in store.  

**And if you haven’t seen the eponymous sitcom, you have an even bigger treat in store. Actually, read The Hiding Place first and then, when it all gets a bit much, put on an episode of Miranda and marvel at the self-effacing and utterly genius slapstick that allows a plus-size awkward and gauche woman to be the one person on the screen you really, really want to be.  Unless you’re male.  That probably doesn’t apply to you.  Sorry about that. 

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  1. Sharon permalink

    I agree, Charley sounds like an extraordinary person. Her children are so blessed to have her. Thanks for telling us about her fight to watch her children grow up. She will now be in our prayers. Go get them Charley


  2. Feeling humbled. And blessed. Off to click and see what we can do. Not sure if she’s done her stuff already, but if she hasn’t I hope she’s brilliant – sounds like she couldn’t not be.


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