In this episode we speak to Dr Leanne Griffiths, the Dean of Sport, Allied Health and Performance Science at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, and founder of Sophie’s Stars, a charity dedicated to supporting family and loved ones of people diagnosed with cancer.
Leanne has a very personal story to share with us which is bound up together in her role as the founder of Sophie’s Stars and her work at the University, as it prepares to launch its new living well service.
At the Centre for the Art of Dying Well we strongly believe in living well throughout our lives in order to prepare to die well, so we are particularly interested in this new initiative.
Leanne started at St Mary's as a Senior Lecturer in Sport Rehabilitation in 2011. She qualified as a Physiotherapist in 2008, completing a PhD in 2016. Her PhD investigated the effects of neuromuscular electrical stimulation on muscle adaptation in stroke patients. Meanwhile in her personal life Leanne was coping with the sudden illness and subsequent death of her sister Sophie, who was diagnosed with kidney cancer aged 24, dying just months later in 2017.
Leanne says: “I’ve never really known where to tell my story, or where I could share my feelings and have my voice heard, because I have not been through cancer. That is why I set up Sophie’s Stars.”