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Journalist grieves for woman daily helped to legalise ‘wonder drug’

Caroline CassinA journalist whose newspaper helped a cystic fibrosis sufferer get a “wonder drug” made legal has shared his grief at her death aged 32.

The Birmingham Mail, along with its sister paper the Sunday Mercury, supported Caroline Cassin’s bid to get a drug called Kalydeco, licensed in the UK.

The drug helps to halt the progress of the “lung ravaging” disease, but its introduction on the NHS came too late for Caroline, pictured above left.

Mike Lockley, the Mail reporter who initially covered Caroline’s fight in 2012, said news of her death earlier this month had “burned deep”.

In a piece for the Mail, he wrote: “I – a journalist who first reported on Caroline’s desperate battle for life four years ago – was informed of her death at Heartlands Hospital on Sunday morning. The news burned deep and guilt added to the toxic cocktail of emotions.

“Caroline, robbed of her carefree years by CF, never once bemoaned her lot, despite struggling desperately for every breath.

“Yet for this reporter, a wonky machine or an unexpected bill is enough to sour the world. I have experienced loss and sadness, but Caroline faced tragedy and laughed at it.

“I am, however, a better person for making contact with the former Selfridges worker and her Irish parents, Carole and Neil. Sadly, Neil died last year. Together, they put life into some kind of perspective.”

Mike retold an anecdote about a radio competition Caroline entered last year to win a wedding dress.

Sensing an exclusive of how the girl who had been on “death’s door” was about to walk down the aisle, he rang her.

Her response to the question of whether she was to marry was: “No. I just wanted one.”

Mike added: “Those words made me walk outside and let the sun burn saltwater from my eyes. Beautiful Caroline simply wanted to savour a life other young women take for granted.”

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  • July 26, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    That’s not a heading. It’s just a jumble of words.

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