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Dr Eva Carlson’s legacy for the service she loved

29.02.16 Categories: How donations help, Staff stories

A wonderful gift left in the will of long-serving staff member Dr Eva Carlson is supporting research and development in the Speech and Language Therapy service at Guy’s and St Thomas’.

The donation of more than £7,000 will support therapists attending and presenting at national and international academic conferences.

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Dr Carlson worked at St Thomas’ Hospital for over 30 years, from January 1977 until her retirement in April 2007. She was the Clinical Lead speech and language therapist at St Thomas’ for many years and Principal Specialist in Voice and Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) conditions. She also did her PhD during her time there, researching the effects of radiotherapy treatment on the voice of people with cancer of the larynx.

Her former colleague Ann Whitehorn, now semi-retired Trust Head of Speech and Language Therapy, was pleased but not surprised to hear of her friend’s generosity, describing her career and St Thomas’ as two of Eva’s loves in life.

During her time at St Thomas’, Dr Carlson managed an educational fund which enabled staff members to attend training courses, something she was passionate about. This, combined with Eva’s dedication to knowledge-sharing in the interest of development, convinced Ann that opening a similar fund in Eva’s memory was a very fitting way to use the gift.

‘It makes enormous sense because Eva was very passionate about all therapists, however busy they might be clinically, to have the opportunity to develop practice and develop their own research skills,’ says Ann. ‘We were aware of the fact that Eva had had such a fund herself; there are still some people in the service now who worked with Eva who benefitted from it in the past.’

Ann recalls, ‘Eva maintained a tremendous energy and interest in the field of ENT over the course of her career. She was always ready to share her immense knowledge, always open to new ideas and keen to learn new techniques, whilst being very modest about her own achievements. She was a superb mentor and teacher who nurtured and empowered junior therapists.’

Attending academic conferences is the best way for speech and language therapists to progress, to keep up-to-date with cutting-edge developments in the field. Dr Carlson’s gift will ensure that staff’s expenses for attendance, including travel and subsistence, will be covered.

Her legacy will ensure that staff can learn and become inspired to do their own research, enabling them to drive new knowledge for the benefit of their patients, just as Eva did.

‘Eva was extremely good at praising the successes of others and encouraging them to even greater achievements,’ Ann says. ‘Those of us who were fortunate enough to work alongside her will be forever in her debt.’

Leaving a gift in your will can make a difference to staff and patients for years to come. Find out more about leaving a legacy gift to Guy’s and St Thomas’.