Sarah Jane (Sally) Tweddle 1955 - 1999
It was with great sadness that we announced the death of Sally Tweddle at 4am on 14th December 1999. Sally was instrumental in setting up CancerHelp UK in 1994. At the time, most web material on cancer was professionally biased, with little information available for patients and relatives. By means of donations from disparate sources, sufficient funds were raised to start producing CancerHelp UK to the high standard that continues today. In 2014 the CancerHelp UK website was merged with the main Cancer Research UK site to form its patient information web pages.
Sally came from a background in teaching and education and could see clearly that material for the general public could be effectively presented over the Web. The accepted wisdom was that patients would not be able to use computer based information and would prefer to stick with more conventional routes of dissemination. Research carried out, in which Sally was key, was able to show that people with no prior computer experience and little formal education could effectively navigate and locate information on a website with very little tuition or supervision. Sally also developed new methods for evaluating the usage of websites that went beyond simply counting hits.
On the basis of the initial successful launch, Sally obtained a prestigious Fellowship in Cancer Education from the Cancer Research Campaign to further promote the transmission of information about cancer, both to the general public and to medical students. In this latter role, Sally made a substantial contribution to the reorganisation of the undergraduate curriculum for medical students in Birmingham, which attracted considerable praise at the external assessment of teaching carried out nationally. Sally had recently left her Fellowship to take up a new appointment in the Faculty of Education to complete her PhD and carry on her research into the web as an education medium.
Everyone who worked with Sally was immediately struck by her enthusiastic and dynamic approach to projects, problem solving, and life in general. Work was always associated with a sense of fun and a determination to effect change.
Sally's illness and death
Sadly, in August 1999, Sally was diagnosed as having a widespread cancer of the duodenum. Despite surgery and chemotherapy borne with considerable fortitude, Sally's condition deteriorated. Throughout her terminal illness she continued to work on the things that were important to her. Her courage and self possession in the face of considerable pain and suffering were an example to us all. She died peacefully at her home with her family around her, as she had wished. She is greatly missed but her legacy lives on in our patient information pages.
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