Friends to plunge thousands of feet for charity after Chesterfield woman diagnosed with cancer

Karla Griffiths and Clair Robshaw.
Karla Griffiths and Clair Robshaw.

A pair of plucky pals will plunge thousands of feet for charity - and to thank staff for caring for their friend who was diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer.

Lindsay Butcher, 38, from Chesterfield, was told she had multiple myeloma last year and has undergone intensive treatment involving spinal surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and a stem cell harvest.

To say thank you to Sheffield hospitals for saving their friend's life, Karla Griffiths, 39, and Clair Robshaw, 43, will take part in a tandem skydive later this year to raise funds for myeloma research.

Karla said: "Lindsay had been suffering with back pain, fatigue, recurrent infections and neurological symptoms including numb feet and fingers and leg weakness.

"She was admitted to the Royal Hallamshire Hospital where an MRI scan was arranged within 24 hours. A large mass was found on her spine and surrounding ribs, which doctors said could cause paralysis within hours.

"Emergency spinal surgery removed around 90 per cent of the tumour. She was informed a week later that the tumour was malignant and was a rare form of blood cancer called multiple myeloma.

"We've known Lindsay for 17 years. Clare and I were so shocked and upset by her diagnosis, especially as it happened so quickly. Her life changed so fast. It was frightening that something like can happen to someone so young and healthy.

"We immediately set up a WhatsApp group so Lindsay didn't have to tell us the same information twice and so we could support her when she needed us at any time day or night. We all have a silly sense of humour so a lot of the time we'd just try and keep things light-hearted and make her smile. We also went to visit her when she felt well enough.

"Her treatment plan was intense. It involved six months of chemotherapy, a stem cell Transplant and 24 rounds of complex radiotherapy. Thankfully the treatment worked well, and her latest tests do not show any sign of active disease. We hope it remains this way for a very long time.

"We know how tough it has been for Lindsay, and how thankful she has been for the support from her family and friends, and her husband Colin and son Josh.

"She is also so thankful for her treatment and care which has been non-stop. She was kept informed along the way by highly caring and expert nurses and doctors. It is overwhelming to think of the number of people and all of the Sheffield hospitals that have been involved in her care.

"We decided that we wanted to recognise the wonderful job they've done and raise some money for them. We are grateful too and so wanted to arrange some kind of fundraising event.

"We wanted to do something other than a sponsored walk, something that was outside of our comfort zones. We thought if Lindsay has been through something scary - we should do something scary too!

"So what better way than to jump out of a plane! We are both very scared; it will be a big deal for both of us."

Karla and Clair hope to raise £1,000 for research into myeloma. Visit this Justgiving page to sponsor them.

Sheffield Hospitals Charity's next fundraising skydive is on Sunday, October 6. For more information, visit www.sheffieldhospitalscharity.org.uk/Event/skydive