For Lotte Ryan, a friend and fellow campaigner

LotteLotte Ryan

The following is from my friend, Charlotte Ryan, who was expected to attend work interviews or lose her benefits just weeks before she died. This was written on December 12, 2014:

I have terminal cancer, my prognosis is 0-3 years and I was diagnosed in March 2014 with my brain stem glioma. In April 2014 I was placed in the support group* for 3 years and I have gone from being able-bodied to hopelessly disabled. I have many neurological deficits including diploplia, dyspraxia, dysarthria and dysphagia. To save you googling, this means that I have double vision and am going blind, I’m very clumsy and most days I drop everything I pick up, my speech is failing and one day I won’t be able to communicate verbally at all and I have such difficulty swallowing that I now have a feeding tube.

I cannot leave the house alone and I’m at risk of choking and need 24 hour care. They speak of me going into residential care, but they hope to keep me in my own home for as long as possible. The trouble is degenerative, nothing will get better, only worse, the cancer can’t be cured. I’m 37.

Now. I can deal with all that. I’m alive! And I can still do stuff!! What I cannot deal with is that I am on the work programme! I received this letter today (too late to ring the WP) demanding I attend an appointment with the Work Programme on Tuesday or they’ll stop my benefits. HOW SICK DOES A PERSON HAVE TO BE BEFORE THE HARASSMENT STOPS?”

terminal cancer work programmelotte 1lotte 2
lotte 3* The support group is supposed to be for people who the Department of Work and Pensions consider to have such severe health problems that there is no likelihood of their being able to undertake work or work-related activities.

Lotte was terminally ill. What kind of government treats cancer patients in such a callous, punitive way?

The last few weeks of Lotte’s life were difficult enough, without having to cope with the threat of losing her lifeline benefits because extremely unreasonable demands were made on her by an inhumane Department of Work and Pensions. Lotte is not the only terminally ill person to be hounded in this way. This has unacceptably happened to many.

 “life is like a pathway, a pathway lined with snow. Be careful with every step you take because every step will show.” Lotte Ryan.

Lotte was born on 12 July 1977, she died on 23 February, 2015, aged just 37 years. She left us this message:

Dear Friendlings, Don’t be spooked now, my cousin Chris, sisters Lis and Lucie, brother Jago and my Mum are writing this for me because I had to leave you all last week as you know. Sorry to go missing from here too for a while. My family have had a few things to do and wanted to get things right for me before informing you all of what’s happening.

My bash will be on Monday 16th March at 1.30 at Mendip Crematorium near Wells. You can google it to get directions because it’s not easy to find being up by the Glasto festival site and all.

Now I don’t want you spending your hard earned cash on flowers because I’ll have plenty of those from my family. If you want to bring me a rose and write me a message there will be a time and place for you to give those to me and I think I’d really like that. Nothing too ostentatious mind. You know I don’t do that stuff.

Cousin Chris has been getting a collection going for my charity of Caring in Bristol. If you want to donate and leave a message for me just go to justgiving.com/Lotte-Ryan and all will be revealed.

Share lots of happy memories and thoughts of me on this page, no arguing with anyone now or doing any naughty stuff. I’ve been hearing things (tut) and don’t forget to download any photies you may want to keep.

I love you all dear friendlings. My diary of a Mong is over. My journey is ended and I am at peace.

Lottekins.

Those we have lost cannot cry out for justice. It is a duty of the living to do so for them.

My thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by Lotte’s  death. She was so full of life, beautiful, funny, philosophical and remarkably brave. My sympathy and condolences to her family and all of her friends. She is much loved, and will be missed very much by many.

And Lotte, yes, I will see you again when I am free to leave. Be at peace x

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32 thoughts on “For Lotte Ryan, a friend and fellow campaigner

  1. Sad, so sad. This government consists of rich boys whose contemptuous and reckless attitude makes them deaf, dumb and blind to the lives of real people.
    Rest in peace. We will never stop pushing for a civilised country.

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  2. This is heartbreaking and it moved me to tears. To Lotte’s family and close friends: I’ve lost 3 family members to cancer and so I know what it’s like to lose loved ones to this terrible disease. If it’s any consolation at all, it’s only time that heals the pain. I’m utterly outraged at the shameful behaviour of the DWP towards Lotte in her precious remaining days. This was the last thing she needed to be dealing with and I for one will be doing everything I can to share this story and to make others aware of it. We will never stop fighting for a better society and to rid this country of these criminal entities who are subjugating us, fomenting a system of slavery and fleecing us at every opportunity. RIP Lotte x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m truly saddened at your loss Kitty, Lotte was obviously a funny and courageous young lady who faced life, and death, head on.
    To be harrassed to the end by this awful heartless government is absolutely disgusting and shameful, but as usual, its something that we have seen happen to thousands of others and only when the Tories are out of government will the truth be revealed.
    Best wishes to everyone affected by Lotte’s passing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Fare-thee-well Dear Lotte: I hope that whatever follows fopr you will be filled with Sunshine and Happiness. For those of darkened hearts their diminishing will surely happen.

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  5. My Condolences for the loss of your friend Kitty. Charlotte didn’t deserve to die like that. She didn’t deserve
    to be bullied, and pushed around while she was trying to make the most of the precious time she had left.
    I’ve seen many stories like Charlotte’s, Mark Wood, Stephanie Bottrill. I’ve been through my own trials
    and still am. I have health problems, including heart problems. It didn’t stop my Council from evicting me
    from my home in 2013, or the Dwp from leaving me with no money for food even though I’m diabetic.
    I have fought for justice for myself in the hope it might help others. Last week I won a Court case and a Judge
    decided the Council shouldn’t have evicted me. This week, even though they saw first hand, how Ill i was
    at the hearing, the Council have decided to try and overturn the Judge’s ruling and leave me indefinitely homeless.
    I know how it feels to be persecuted by the system, and by bureaucrats who think they that they can abuse people because they jobs with the government. This has to end. There needs to be a cry so great throughout the land that no one, NO ONE, ever suffers the way that Charlotte has under the cruel and cowardly hand of this government
    or other people will suffer as she did. The government has said, over and over “we are proud of our achievements”.
    This will continue as long as people stand by and do nothing.
    There must be justice for Charlotte, and there must be punishment for those who did this to her. This must end.
    Rest in peace Charlotte

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m so saddened to read of your friends loss and the added trauma she went through courtesy of our diabolical, shambles of a DWP. This shouldn’t be happening, but we know all to well it does.

    Once again, I’m so sorry for your loss and my deepest condolences go out to Lotte’s family, as well as her friends. She comes across as a beautiful person and I’m sure all your lives are that but more enriched for knowing her. May she RIP 🌹 xxx 💞

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Reblogged this on loopeyange and commented:
    “life is like a pathway, a pathway lined with snow. Be careful with every step you take because every step will show.” Lotte Ryan. 1977 – 2015

    Reblogging a heartfelt story of a beautiful young lady who was hounded by the DWP, despite only having a few short weeks of her precious life left.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. So very saddening and inspirational. Although the ultimate edict comes from the Capitalist class, it relies on the co-operation of working people, the final blow to end this carnage of life needs to come from an indefinite General Strike called by the TUC to haul these ruthless barbarians into the dustbin of history and only then can we say we have done Lotte, and all those like her, justice. LOVE to all those who know Lotte and who demand a different world.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. We are all aware of the callous indifference of this administration, but this tribute has actually left me speechless. This behaviour must be publicised far more widely, how many more have to suffer before the sheeple wake up and realise that his could be them tomorrow.
    My condolences to Charlotte’s family.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. God bless , that ian duncun smith ‘nazi’ is a murder ,, but what i dont understand is that this lot take glee in causing suffering ,,, thats the only thing i can not get my head around.

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  11. Hiya Kitty Sorry to hear about the passing of your dear freind, may she rest in peace and condolences late though this is, to her family.
    I have had experience of cancer myself which should have done the job but thankfully I got through it [Boy have I got some stories to tell on that ‘little’ subject!!].
    All I can advise people which I do when I can is stay strong and have hope.
    Know your rights/what you can do and stand your ground.
    The most important are – all civil servants are required by law no matter what level to reply in writing if requested [must be seriuos matter – don’t want them claiming you are wasting their time] its part of their contract which people seem to forget. Accept nothing verbally if you get the feeling they are trying the ‘Old College Try’, list whoever accompanies you as your ‘McKenzie Friend’.
    This too shall pass.

    Stay Strong

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  12. Sorry for the loss of Lotte Ryan.
    She sounds like she was a great person.
    Really this conservative government needs to be dragged kicking and screaming before the European court of human rights for crimes against the sick and disabled.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog and commented:
    Kittysjones here gives her fond memories of a treasured friend, and the details she left for her funeral. Kittys’ post also has an importance beyond that of the personal loss of her and the other people who knew Ms Ryan. It vividly describes the despair felt by a serious ill woman, who, despite her terminal illness, was still being pressured and hounded by the Jobcentre to go on the workfare, or else lose her benefit.

    It would be bad enough if Ms Ryan was the only case. She hasn’t been. Other terminally ill people have also been blithely informed by the Jobcentre that they have been assessed as fit for work. So have those, who had died since their Atos assessment. And now MIke has also posted on his blog the case of another serious ill woman, again with cancer, who was told by the Jobcentre that if she survived, they would sue her for benefit fraud.

    For the sake of other people like Ms Ryan, this has to be stopped. The DWP simply isn’t fit for purpose and the viciousness of its policies and sheer crass brutality of its staff are insults, which no one should have to put up with, and especially not those, who deserve care and tenderness in their final days.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I was lucky enough to know lotte, had many conversations with her, although she was far too intelligent for me, she knew far too much for a woman her age,what really annoys me is that there’s thousands an thousands of lazy fat idiots sat on there even larger arses claiming what ever benefit they can, yet someone with cancer is made to go over an over why they can’t work!! We really live in a disgusting world

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    1. I knew Lotte too. But I’d dispute that there are “thousands and thousands of lazy fat idiots” out there. People claiming benefits have strict conditionality criteria to meet, which includes looking for work and providing the evidence, working for nothing as “work experience” and having their lifeline benefits withdrawn if they don’t do these things.

      I’m very ill and cannot work, though I have worked most of my life, but I hold the government responsible for the persecution of sick and disabled people, not other social groups who are also mostly struggling to survive. Research indicates that the majority of people on benefits want to work, the “culture of worklessness” is a tory myth which has been used to justify policies that mistreat everyone who claims a benefit – including those in work and on low pay.

      I’ve been told I’m fit for work, been to tribunal and won my lifeline benefit back, many of us have. The policies are entirely those of this govt. and noone elses’ fault.

      Like

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