Meet the team
Hypopara UK is run by a management commitee and a support team of patients who are all volunteers. Click on their photos to read their stories.
I founded Hypopara UK in 2005 after my own experience of living for many years with undiagnosed brittle Hypoparathyroidism following surgery for thyroid cancer in 1992. I run the charity with the lovely people you see here and we work together to support our members and campaign for better treatment. I am very proud to be part of this national (and now international) organisation and I am deeply committed to its aims. I never fail to be moved by the stories of the patients who contact us and by the efforts of the volunteers and healthcare professionals who work so hard on our behalf.
Mandy has been involved with Hypopara UK since the early days of the forum of which she is now chief administrator. She is our second in command, supporting Liz in the day to day running of the organisation and is also in charge of membership.
'I live near Perth, Scotland. I had a total thyroidectomy in 2003 due to Graves' Disease, which resulted in Hypoparathyroidism. Since having to give up my job and my flat, due to ill health, I'm now living quietly in the country with the love of my life - my Springer Spaniel, Prince.'
Isabel Wray, Creative & Marketing Officer
'Born and bred in London, with a Brazilian heart. I married my husband twice, and we welcomed our son into the world in 2013. I am passionate about dancing, especially Cuban Salsa, Brazilian Samba and Angolan Kizomba. I have post-surgical hypoparathyroidism following treatment for thyroid cancer in 1988 aged 15. In 2012 it took me a year to recover from a severe hypocalcaemic crisis due to a faulty batch of medication. It was during this time that I discovered Hypopara UK and pledged my eternal commitment to help.'
Isabel has 25 years expereince in the advertising and marketing industry as a creative producer in print, digital, video and radio. She joined the Hypopara UK committee as our Creative Officer and has been instrumental in our rebrand and logo development, and produced patient information and exhibition materials. She represents Hypopara UK at conferences, speaks at awareness meetings and is a Hypoparathyroidism Ambassador with Shire.
Ray Finlay was born in, and grew up near Belfast, Northern Ireland. Moving to England in 1989, he completed a BSc in chemistry at Manchester. Following completion of his PhD studies at the University of Cambridge he moved to the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California as a postdoctoral research fellow. Since 1999 he has worked as a medicinal chemist in both inflammation and oncology drug discovery. When not at work he can usually be found 'scuba diving around the coast of the UK or trying to guess what my calcium is doing'.
Judith Taylor, Newsletter Editor & External Affairs
Judith is a medical writer with more than 35 years in scientific, technical and medical (STM) publishing where she acquired and managed a host of academic books and journals in many fields including endocrinology, health policy and patient education. Her last position was as Senior Publisher and Director responsible for the physical sciences in the book publishing division of Elsevier. Judith has had surgery for thyroid cancer as well as primary hyperparathyroidism so she knows from first-hand experience how important it is as a patient to be well-informed and supported. Judith has been our representative at various conferences around the world including the Thyroid Cancer Alliance where she is Secretary and a Director. From 2016, she took over from Mandy as our newsletter editor and helps Liz produce our patient information.
Aisling Duffy -Operations & Communications Officer
'I'm originally from Dublin but now live in London. I was diagnosed with familial hypocalcaemia when I was 13 and then at 18 I was diagnosed with a hyperplastic nodule and a follicular neoplasm (discovered after removal) which led to a partial thyroidectomy. This resulted in the remaining half of my thyroid not actually working and being prescribed thyroxine for the foreseeable future. Then at 24 a blood test showed I had dangerously low levels of calcium and thus began my treatment for this. Doctors are still unsure whether this is post surgical or genetic or a mix of both.
This is why I looked to volunteer for Hypopara UK. While family and friends are a great support, people who have gone through similar symptoms can be of even greater value to help you through the hard times. I am so happy to be a part of the team here and am looking forward to raising awareness about this rare condition.'
Sarah Tarmaster - PR & Food Awareness
Sarah is a PR professional who brings her skills to support us in our awareness and fundraising campaigns to the public, the medical profession and in social media. She was diagnosed with Hypopara in 2013 after a full TT (although she wasn’t told she had it until 18 months later).
Sarah is also a food blogger (http://northwestnosh.co.uk/) and she creates recipes for the Hypopara UK website. Her first passion is food and she believes that what we eat directly affects our everyday lives: she particularly likes creating healthy recipes that support her Hypopara diagnosis. If you would like Sarah to develop a recipe using a particular Hypopara friendly ingredient, then drop her a line on Facebook or Twitter @northwestnosh.
In her spare time Sarah spends a lot of time walking her dog, cycling and knitting. She also really likes ships.
Lisa Burke - Patient Support (Forum) & Event Organiser
My journey with hypoparathyroidism began in August 2009. Following years of struggling with Graves' disease I entered hospital for a routine thyroidectomy and ten days later walked out with a bag full of calcium feeling fairly clueless about what had happened or what was to come. Through the power of the internet I found this site and the curtains were lifted; suddenly I could communicate with others who understood my fears, had walked my path and wanted to help -I no longer felt alone. This is what inspired me to volunteer for Hypopara UK; being so rare there is great value in us all coming together to share experiences, offering support and advice and striving to get the best treatment for all.
Life for me now is fairly hectic, I live with my partner and two children and work four days a week in central London. Hypopara is a constant in my life, I have good and bad days and it has been amazing that during my more difficult times that I've been able to ask for advice from those on the site and they have never failed to help.
Bill Glenister, Finance Officer