Meet the Team

Meet our Warriors of Compassion who do all the work both behind the scenes and in the front lines to support people bereaved by cancer. 

 

 

erinDr Erin Hope Thompson, Founder and Director

After the death of my father in 2008 to cancer I witnessed and experienced the isolation that comes from a lack of bereavement support in our country. Given the number of people dying from cancer each day, I was struck by the shortage of bereavement support and was determined to change that. In 2010 I invited friends to my place to share my vision with them over burnt garlic bread and a cheese plate. With the help of a dedicated and passionate team we founded The Loss Foundation in 2010, and we have been able to grow into an organisation supporting people bereaved by cancer in a number of ways. I love being part of this charity, and am humbled by the stories our members share with us. I look forward to our charity continuing to evolve over time to support more people, in the memory of my father and in the memory of all your loved ones. Aside from my work within the charity, I am qualified as a Clinical Psychologist and work within the NHS and private sector.


Clair Pike, Charity Administrator­­­

Clair joined The Loss Foundation in 2015 as their Charity Administrator.  Clair previously worked as an Area Co-ordinator and Personal Assistant in business and the Charity Sector.  She brings 15 years of skills and knowledge of working, and volunteering, with large and small bereavement charities. Having worked with bereavement for a number of years she understands the benefit of those who are bereaved being supported through meeting others who have had a similar experience, and is exciting about promoting the work undertaken by The Loss Foundation.Out of work Clair enjoys running, mainly in the beautiful surroundings of Hatfield House in Hertfordshire, eating carrot cake, and looking after her two young granddaughters.


kirsten Dr Kirsten Smith, Trustee and Facilitator

I have been involved with The Loss Foundation since Erin founded it in 2010 and have felt privileged to be a part of something that offers a free service to those seeking support through their grief.  Seeing it grow to helping people in North and South London as well as our online community has been an important learning experience and the future of the charity in the coming years will hopefully allow us to support even more people in more diverse ways. Professionally I am a chartered clinical psychologist with a particular interest in traumatic experiences both psychological and physical.  

In October 2014 I started a Wellcome Trust funded research fellowship at the University of Oxford investigating the factors that might make an individual  more prone to developing a prolonged or complicated bereavement reaction.  My work will hopefully lead to more effective treatment approaches for those in need of some extra support. This move has allowed me to set up our first support group outside of London in St John’s College, Oxford.

Working with the bereaved has allowed me to gain a broader understanding of the difficulties associated with one of the most stressful and heartbreaking events that we, as individuals, are likely to go through.  The hard work of our team and the courage of our members continues to inspire me to strive for better support systems and more effective ways of reducing distress.


yaa Dr Yaa Achampong, Facilitator

I am a junior doctor working and living in London. I have an interest in Cancer medicine and have worked in Southend and The Christie Hospital in Manchester, one of Europe’s largest cancer centres. I am currently working at St Bartholemew’s Hospital, and have been involved with The Loss Foundation since its inception. I feel privileged to be in a position to support people in sharing their experiences of grief and bereavement and would encourage anyone to come along to any of our events.


fracine Francine Bear, Trustee and Facilitator

I have been involved with The Loss Foundation since it began in 2010 and have thoroughly enjoyed contributing to its development with Erin and the rest of our lovely team. Like others, one of the reasons I wanted to be part of the charity was that I found it hard to comprehend the absence of existing bereavement support services, despite knowing how frequently people lose a loved one to cancer today. As a regular facilitator of the group meetings, I am repeatedly struck by how simple yet effective it can be for people to share their struggles and experiences of loss with others who understand what they are going through. Following my degree in Psychology, I have gained experience in supporting people within a range of different mental health contexts including those experiencing post-traumatic stress. I am now working as a Trainee Clinical Psychologist in London.


Ori Becker, Website Support

I joined the Foundation in mid 2014 having known the Founder and a few of the facilitators. Initially I wanted to see how I could help the Foundation by volunteering, little did I know that by joining I would be the one who was helped. Now I know how that reads, like a cheesy Hallmark card/after school special, but it is the truth. Ever since I joined I have been dealing with my own bereavement in a way I had never done before. Being a part of this great organisation means I am learning so much about myself, how to grieve, loss and love. The wonderful work that this Foundation does on a daily basis is very much inspiring and fulfilling.

My official responsibilities are to manage all things technical on behalf of the foundation and it’s website, but really all I do is try and make the facilitators’ and Director’s jobs a little easier by helping out in any way I can.


chantalle Dr Chantalle Beckford-Tackoir, Facilitator

I have been working with The Loss Foundation team since it was founded in 2010 and being involved in this remarkable journey has been a truly humbling experience.  Despite many years of talking to, meeting and supporting our members I am still taken a back by the lack of support available for those who have been left behind following their loss to cancer. It’s the positive feedback we receive from our members when we have managed to help fill a void that they had not been able to reach before, that continues to make this a worthy cause and motivates me in striving to reach and support as many people as possible. I am inspired by the growth of the foundation as we continue to try and meet the needs of our members from expanding regionally over London, to the annual retreat, to social events and I am excited about the future of the foundation. This has been created for and evolved by its members and I am proud to be a part of something that people turn to, often through their hardest moments. Professionally I am a medical doctor and studied at Imperial College London.  I have worked in many departments in hospitals across North West London and Oxfordshire and I am currently undertaking specialist training to become a qualified general practitioner.  Through my work I often encounter bereavement, caring for patients during terminal illness whilst also supporting spouses and relatives.  I try to bring what I have learnt through medicine and patient interaction to the The Loss Foundation but also learn a great deal from our members which I take back to the hospital to try and enhance my patient’s and relatives’ journey wherever possible.


jessica Dr Jessica Bilaney, Facilitator

I have admired the work The Loss Foundation does and started volunteering for them in 2012. I am proud to be part of such a dynamic and innovative charity and have had the privilege to see, first hand, the difference it can make. I helped run the first bereavement retreat in Autumn 2013 and have learnt so much about bereavement and the strength in people from this experience. I am a medical doctor and have worked and trained in London. I have found it incredibly useful to understand what relatives go through after a bereavement and it has made me more mindful of the wider needs of my patients and want to do more for those left behind after all illness.


phobee Dr Phebe Burns, Facilitator

I met Erin, the founder of The Loss Foundation, when we were both studying clinical psychology. The great work that her charity was already doing was clear and I wanted to get involved in helping to provide support to those who had been bereaved. I have been volunteering as a facilitator since 2013, initially whilst studying clinical psychology and now, whilst working as a Clinical Psychologist. As a charity, we are passionate about helping those who have been bereaved to access the support that works for them. The Loss Foundation support groups enables people to share their experience of bereavement with others who have been bereaved. I feel privileged as a facilitator to be a part of providing a space for people to talk about their thoughts, feelings and experiences. Even in the midst of the most difficult times of their lives, people come together in the groups to support those who are also in need and it is very humbling to be a part of that.


joey Dr Joey Carlisle, Research Committee

I am a Clinical Psychologist living and working in London. After meeting the founder, Erin, at university I became involved with The Loss Foundation team in 2012 when they invited me to take part in the Three Peaks Challenge to raise money for the charity. After spending many gruelling hours climbing mountains in the dark and living in a van with the team for a weekend I knew this was a very special group of people with a lot of passion for a brilliant cause. Soon after I started co-facilitating the group meetings and started to share their enthusiasm. In my short time with The Loss Foundation I have seen the difference it has made to people at the absolute worst moments of their lives. I am excited to see The Loss Foundation develop and proud to be a part of it.


megan Dr Megan Cockburn, Facilitator

I have been facilitating support group sessions with The Loss Foundation since 2012 and feel honoured to be part of such an important and necessary charity. Losing a loved one is undoubtedly one of the hardest things that anyone can ever go through. And yet we live in a society where talking about death and bereavement is generally feared and/or avoided. This can be incredibly isolating for those living through the pain of grief. The Loss Foundation tackles this issue head on by creating spaces where people can meet others who know what they are going through; where they can share feelings that they may not feel able to express to close friends or family; and where they can feel supported through their loss. I am a Clinical Psychologist specialising in paediatric and adult diabetes and have worked in the field of mental health for over ten years now, with a wide range of client groups.


Laura Dallas, Facilitator

I feel privileged to have recently joined The Loss Foundation as a support group facilitator, where I hope to contribute to the fantastic and inspirational work that Erin and the team do. There is something very special and unique about creating a space for people to share their experience of bereavement, in a society which considers death and bereavement a taboo subject. I am a recent Psychology graduate and I currently work as an Assistant Psychologist in a memory service with older adults. Through my work I have seen how helpful and empowering sharing difficult experiences can be, and so I am honoured to be part of a charity which creates a safe, warm and welcoming place for people to do this.


berlinda Dr Belinda Graham, Research Committee

My commitment to The Loss Foundation began when Erin first approached me with her vision to create an inclusive and informal support network for people who have lost loved ones to cancer. Bereavement happens to us all at some point in our lives. The Loss Foundation ‘s contribution is to provide opportunities, in person and online, to connect with others and share experiences in an atmosphere that is accepting of pain, shock, confusion, and the need sometimes to laugh or to cry. Witnessing the connections build between our members is truly inspiring. I am a UK Clinical Psychologist and have worked therapeutically with people from a range of backgrounds within and outside London, particularly those who have experienced trauma, difficult transitions and loss. I currently work as part of a clinical research team in the University of Washington (USA), developing improved treatments for people struggling in the aftermath of traumatic events. I am honoured to be a part of The Loss Foundation as it continues grow connections and new ways of helping people to support each other after bereavement.


emily(1)Dr Emily Griffiths, Facilitator

I decided to volunteer my time to the Loss Foundation after being inspired by the teams passion to support those going through bereavement. I am a Chartered Clinical Psychologist specialising in the field of adult mental health. My experience tells me that people truly benefit from being able to share their stories with others who have been through a similar experience, something I feel honoured to be a part of. I am excited to see what the future holds for such a compassionate, dynamic and ambitious charity.

 


carly Dr Carly Huck, Facilitator

I studied Clinical Psychology with Erin and first heard about her personal story and subsequent development of The Loss Foundation there. Her passion and aspirations for the charity ensured that there would be no question in whether or not I would want to be part of it and help where I can. I think that we, as people, have so much to learn from each other’s journeys and experiences, and it has been such a privilege to be part of the support groups and to witness people’s honesty, resilience, and support to one another. I have an interest in what motivates and facilitates people to seek help and support for difficulties, who they choose to seek help from, and what people find most helpful in relation to getting support at particular times. I am excited to be part of such a caring, person-centred, and forward thinking charity that provides a much needed resource for people at one of the most difficult times in their lives.


Layla Mearns, Volunteer

I heard about TLF via their ad for volunteers in the newspaper and it struck a cord with me as I found it impossible to access free bereavement support soon after losing my mother to cancer. Having found out about it now a couple of years later I want to spread the word about it so that other people can access it sooner than I could. I enjoy yoga and theatre in my spare time.

 


Kylie Pascua-Leones, Facilitator

I am currently an assistant psychologist in the NHS and having worked mainly with children living with health difficulties such as cancer, I have realised how distressing it can be for themselves and their families. Having recently joined The Loss Foundation, I seek to support those who have lost loved ones, which can often be a subject that is overlooked and hard to talk about. I have witnessed how empowering groups can be in creating a space where people can share their stories and discover ways to manage these challenging times. I feel honoured and excited to contribute to this evolving charity and be part of a compassionate and a dedicated team.


Shereen Sally, Trustee and Facilitator

I have been part of The Loss Foundation since the beginning and watched it grow from strength to strength. As well as being a group facilitator, I am a Trustee. Erin’s idea of creating a service that did not exist and for it to grow into a charity has been inspirational. It is very special to be part of something that helps people get support every month from our groups and from each other.  I  have a keen interest in the charity sector having been involved in cancer and children’s charities now and in the past nationally and internationally. I have a Masters of Science in Charity Management and have a keen interest in helping people. I think the most important thing about The Loss Foundation is bringing people together to share their experiences and that it is open to anybody. To be part of something that makes a difference is a privilege and has been a learning experience into bereavement and support.

 


Sara-SydlowskiDr Sara Szydlowski, Facilitator

I have been involved with The Loss Foundation since 2012. I have enjoyed being part of a growing charity that offers a service to support those who have lost a loved one. I’m impressed with the commitment of The Loss Foundation in finding  new and innovative ways of reaching  people who are in the grieving process. Professionally I am a HCPC registered clinical psychologist. Prior to completing my doctorate in clinical psychology I worked therapeutically in a range of adult mental health settings. Through my doctoral training I have developed an interest in working with children, young people and their families using a range of psychotherapeutic approaches.  I currently work clinically in East London within a children and families setting. Throughout my various roles I have had a longstanding interest in how individual and groups negotiate change and manage transitions. My involvement in The Loss Foundation has enriched my understanding of how people cope with bereavement and loss in different ways.  


Miss-Megan

Megan Turnbull, Facilitator

I heard about The Loss Foundation through Kirsten, and was very impressed by their work. I feel privileged by the opportunity to volunteer with the Loss foundation in the Oxford Group. I am currently a graduate student in Child Development at the University of Oxford and previously worked as a child psychologist in schools in Australia. My previous professional work has included working as a social worker for children in residential foster care, applied behaviour therapy for children with Autism and running youth residential camps. I feel privileged to be part of The Loss Foundation community.