Dido unveils a plaque marking the rheumatology Dept at UCH as a ‘centre of excellence Inset: Professor David Isenberg who treated the singer’s father
Published: 9 August, 2012
by TOM FOOT
SINGER Dido said she had been given “extra years” with her father because of expert treatment at University College Hospital (UCL).
William Armstrong, her father, ran the publishing house Sidgwick & Jackson for 25 years until poor health led to his early retirement in 1995.
He was diagnosed with deadly lupus in 2001 but found one of the world’s experts in the incurable condition at the Euston Road hospital. He died five years later.
Dido, who has sold millions of albums worldwide, said: “My dad was looked after by Professor (David) Isenberg and my family and I have always been eternally grateful to him because we got so much extra time with Dad.
“We have always felt a connection with Prof Isenberg because we have so many brilliant memories because of him.
“My dad was very sick with lupus but he was amazingly resilient. I admired him a huge amount because he kept bouncing back.
“It’s a surprising illness and that’s what makes it so hard – you don’t know what’s going to come up next and it affects you in so many different ways.”
Lupus is an incurable immune system illness mainly suffered by women. Around 50,000 people are now thought to have lupus in the UK.
Dido visited UCH to unveil a new plaque in the NHS trust’s rheumatology department after it was named a “Centre of Excellence” by the charity LUPUS UK.
Prof Isenberg has published more than 400 original articles and has written or edited 17 books about the condition. He said: “We were delighted to receive this accolade from LUPUS UK.
“We believe it reflects the huge amount of hard work over many years by a highly integrated team of doctors, nurses, physios, occupational therapists and researchers.”
Yvonne Norton, speaking as the instigator of the LUPUS UK Centre of Excellence award, said: “We are extremely pleased to acknowledge Prof Isenberg and the lupus team not only for the work they are doing in research but, also, for the way in which they view patients.
“It is not just the illness that they see – the patient is treated as a whole person who happens to have lupus.
“Being recognised as a Centre of Excellence will give extra confidence to patients attending the Lupus Clinic and will give an extra level for consultants in other hospitals to aspire to.”