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Campaigning doctor Kate Granger dies of cancer

Dr Kate Granger has died at the age of 34 Credit: Twitter / @GrangerKate

A doctor from West Yorkshire who captured the attention of people around the world by writing about her experiences as a cancer patient in the NHS has died.

Dr Kate Granger, a consultant geriatrician, was was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer almost five years ago. During her treatment she turned to writing, giving a no-holds-barred insight into her suffering on social media, as part of an attempt to raise awareness among fellow doctors of what it is like to be a patient.

Last week Dr Granger reached her fundraising target of £250,000 for the Yorkshire Cancer Centre.

She passed away in St Gemma's hospice in Leeds yesterday, at the age of 34.

Kate Granger: a life in medicine

When Kate Granger left her home in Huddersfield to study medicine in Edinburgh she expected to spend decades doing the job she loved - caring for others.

After graduating with honours she went back to West Yorkshire to do just that, but in August 2011 her dream was shattered when she was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

She refused chemotherapy so that she could continue working on the wards at Pinderfields hospital in Wakefield and became an author, writing a blog entitled 'The Other Side and The Bright Side', which detailed her personal journey.

On social media, Kate's followers saw the good times as well as the bad, the medication she had to take at home to prolong her life, the many times she was forced into hospital, as well as the lengths they had to go to treat the sarcoma that was to take her life.

"Her main passion in life was compassionate care for others, her passion was healthcare, and she always said the little things really matter."

– Chris Pointon, Kate's husband
Dr Kate Granger holds her MBE, which was awarded to her by the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace in June 2015 Credit: Press Association

#HelloMyNameIs

Kate and her husband Chris together launched a major NHS patient initiative, designed to help health workers connect with their patients.

They toured the country visiting health trusts to launch #HelloMyNameIs - a slogan that encourages doctors, nurses and all hospital staff introduce themselves to their patients.

More than 400,000 health workers came to support the campaign, which won the backing of the former Prime Minister David Cameron, and celebrities including Kylie Minogue and Jeremy Clarkson.

When Theresa May became Prime Minister last week, Dr Granger received this letter from Downing Street, thanking her for her contribution to the NHS.

Dr Kate Granger received this letter from Downing Street last week Credit: Family

"You just have to walk around hospitals and see what a difference she's made to patients. She's done that while facing her own illness. She's a really special person."

– Kay Birmingham, Kate's friend
September 2014: Dr Kate Granger skydives for Yorkshire Cancer Centre Credit: ITV News

Fundraising

In the five years since she was diagnosed, Kate fulfilled an incredible bucket list - realising personal dreams, while raising £250,000 for the Yorkshire Cancer Centre.

The fund received contributions from events big and small - bake sales at the Bexley Cancer wing at St James hospital, proceeds from her two books, and showpiece events like her tandem skydive.

Her efforts were recognised with an MBE in 2015.

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