Helen "HP" Patterson

Obituaries - Clinical oncology
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Helen "HP" Patterson

05/06/1962 to 18/04/2012
Memoir Author: 
Yvonne Rimmer

Helen (HP) Patterson spent most of her childhood in North Shields before gaining a place at Churchill College Cambridge in 1980, where she gained first class honours in the medical sciences tripos. She then moved to Wolfson College Oxford to complete her undergraduate training. After junior training posts in Oxford, Newcastle and Nottingham she became a CRC clinical research fellow at the ICR Sutton and was awarded a PhD in 1996 for her workon the molecular genetic of sarcomas. She subsequently trained in clinical oncology at The Royal Marsden Hospital.

She developed a special interest in uro-oncology during a spell as senior registrar in the Academic Urology Unit. In 2000 she took up a consultant post between Addenbrooke’s Hospital and West Suffolk Hospital and in 2004 she became lead clinician for non-surgical uro-oncology at Addenbrooke’s. She was a major contributor to national and international urological trials. Helen's achievements outside of work were, if anything, even more impressive. She was captain of Churchill College women's rowing club and then rowed for the Oxford Lightweights. From 2006 (and as a mum of five), she rowed in Cambridge with Champion of the Thames Rowing Club. She was an essential part of their crew and such an inspiration that a boat and the annual club cup have been dedicated to her memory. Helen's response to her diagnosis was one that humbled us all; it was she who supported friends and colleagues, her wicked dry sense of humour was ever present and she never asked why me?

She remained determined to pack as much into her last months as possible. She ran in an 8 km race in Amsterdam last October, despite chemotherapy toxicity, and in February she skied with her family. Helen was a clinician who truly understood the science behind medicine, she was calm, compassionate, had twinkling eyes and an amazing 'joie de vivre'. She bred Bengal cats and loved shoes! We shall miss her greatly. She leaves her husband Paul and five children.