India leaves behind lasting legacy
India Wilkinson was diagnosed with a brain tumour on New Year’s Eve 2015. This remarkable young woman, whose love for science led her to be offered a place at St Andrew’s University to study Chemistry, was treated at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.
India was under the care of Neurosurgeon Ismail Ughratdar, known as Ish, and the two developed a close friendship over the course of her treatment.
Despite the best work of the team, India passed away on 11 December 2017, aged 19.
Before she died, she made a video with the help of St Michael’s Hospice in Herefordshire called ‘Inside my head’.
The video was first shown at the memorial service to celebrate India’s short yet insightful life.
Ish paid tribute to India, along with Claire Goddard, Fred Berki and Will Garratt who treated her during her time at QEHB, saying: “This is a truly an inspirational tribute from and about a remarkable young lady with a brain cancer diagnosis who goes beyond her death to selflessly make a difference to impact on professionals, families and other patients.
“This was made at a time when she was travelling her own cancer pathway and approaching the end of her own unique and devastating journey. She touched so many people in her short life and we as a team feel that posthumous recognition should be made.
“We believe that should her life have not been cut short so tragically that she would have done great, great things and the world has lost someone very special.”
Speaking of the care that India received under Ish and the team, her dad Kes, said: “We had the privilege of meeting Ish when our daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumour on New Year’s Eve 2015.
“He is an extraordinarily modest and compassionate man, and although he ultimately was unable to stop India’s tumour it was a privilege to have met him. Visiting India on his own and with his wife at the hospice and also at her funeral made a huge difference to us.”
Before she died, India bequeathed £500 of her own money to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham Charity. Cathryn Worth, Fundraising Manager at QEHB Charity, said: “Ish and his colleagues speak so highly of India’s kind and passionate spirit, and the wonderful effect that she had on the people who met her.
“The gift that she has left for the Charity has helped us to continue funding world-leading research into brain tumours here at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. India has left behind an incredible legacy.”