Dido thanks UCLH for 'brilliant memories' with her father 

26/07/2012 00:00 

Multi-million selling singer Dido said she was ‘eternally grateful’ to the London hospital which treated her late father as he battled a debilitating illness.

Dido unveiling a plaque at the UCL laboratory

The recording artist said she had been given ‘extra years’ with her dad William because of the expert treatment he received for lupus at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH).

She was speaking after unveiling a plaque announcing the UCLH Centre for Rheumatology as a LUPUS UK Centre of Excellence.

Lupus is an unpredictable and potentially fatal autoimmune disease in which the immune system is out of balance, causing inflammation and tissue damage to any organ system in the body. There is no cure.

The health effects of lupus include heart attacks, strokes, seizures, and organ failure.  At least five million people worldwide have a form of lupus.

Dido’s father was diagnosed in 2001 and was treated by UCLH consultant rheumatologist Professor David Isenberg, a world-leading expert on the condition, at the UCH Lupus Clinic. He died in late 2006.

Dido said: “My dad was looked after by Professor Isenberg and my family and I have always been eternally grateful to him because we got so much extra time with dad. We have always felt a connection with Professor Isenberg because we have so many brilliant memories because of him.

Dido takes a closer look

“My dad was very sick with lupus but he was amazingly resilient. I admired him a huge amount because he kept bouncing back.

“It’s a surprising illness and that’s what makes it very hard – you don’t know what’s going to come up next and it affects you in so many different ways.”

UCLH works very closely with UCL to research new treatments and different combinations of treatments to improve the outcomes and care for patients with lupus.

Dido was shown around laboratories at UCL where 30 researchers are involved in detailed studies into the causes and consequences of lupus. The UCLH Centre for Rheumatology has made some major clinical contributions into lupus and was the first unit in the world to use rituximab for the successful treatment of the disease.

She added: “It always seems amazing to me what goes on here. If other families can have more time with the people they love because there is different medicine or different ways of making people feel better then that’s incredible.”

The designation as a Lupus Centre of Excellence is given by the charity and patient group LUPUS UK. There are only two other adult centres in the UK with the accolade.

Over the course of his career, Professor Isenberg, academic director for rheumatology at UCL, has cared for more than 500 people with lupus at the Lupus Clinic at UCH which was established in 1978. He is widely recognised for his basic and clinical research and has been published over 400 original articles, over 200 reviews and chapters, and has written and/or edited 17 books.

UCL and UCLH staff, representatives of LUPUS UK and Dido

He said: “We were delighted to receive this accolade from LUPUS UK. We believe it reflects the huge amount of hard work over many years by a highly integrated team of doctors, nurses, physios, occupational therapists and researchers.

“We were delighted to welcome Dido back and showed her the new laboratory that we moved into in May last year. She has been very supportive of the research unit in the past and sang live at the European Lupus Conference held at UCL and the Royal College of Physicians in 2005.”

Yvonne Norton, speaking as the instigator of the LUPUS UK Centre of Excellence award, said :"We are extremely pleased to acknowledge Professor Isenberg and the lupus team not only for the work they are doing in research but, also, for the way in which they view patients. It is not just the illness that they see, the patient is treated as a whole person who happens to have lupus. Being recognised as a Centre of Excellence will give extra confidence to patients attending the Lupus Clinic and will give an extra level for consultants in other hospitals to aspire to.”


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