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Issue 151 Spring 2024

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Mari Green with husband Martin

Mari Green with husband Martin

Even before she knew that her cancer was incurable, Mari Green and her husband decided to donate some money to support research into adrenal cancer. As a result of a donation given by her family and friends, the Society for Endocrinology is very pleased to be able to mark her life with the Mari Green Adrenal Cancer Award. Here is Mari’s story.

Mari Green was born in 1947 in a Welsh mining community in Carmarthenshire. She went to grammar school, and her ambition was to be a doctor. However, she was not encouraged in this ambition by her parents or the school. So, instead, she went into education, studying zoology and biology at a teacher training college in Cardiff. Mari then embarked on a career teaching biology and maths to secondary school students.

She retained her love of science and medicine throughout her life. She especially enjoyed TV science programmes and would always make sure she tuned in to anything presented by Professor Lord Robert Winston.

Mari married Martin, a farmer, and had two children, Adrian and Carys. Martin would grow all their vegetables and Mari would turn them into nutritious meals. She was passionate about healthy eating and knowing what you put into your body and its effect.

When Mari retired from full time teaching in her mid-fifties, she started working with prisoners to help them with basic English and Maths, or if they were looking to pass their GCSEs, as part of their rehabilitation.

After retiring completely, Mari took up cycling as a way of keeping fit and combatting osteoporosis. So, it was really sad when, in the autumn of 2020, she began to feel unwell. Following delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it wasn’t until May 2021 that Mari was diagnosed with Cushing’s syndrome, with a benign tumour on her adrenal gland.

Society member Miles Levy treated Mari at Leicester Royal Infirmary, and she built a strong rapport with both him and the nursing team there. Miles recognised that Mari was very interested in knowing about her condition in more detail, along with how it was affecting her body. He ensured that she was given as much information as she wanted.

Mari started her treatment in July 2021, which included surgery to remove the benign tumour. She was told that it would take six months to recover fully. However, in the spring of 2022, she started to feel that her Cushing’s symptoms were worsening. A second tumour was discovered, which had grown in the same site on her adrenal gland, but this time it was malignant and would necessitate a stronger course of treatment.

At this point, Mari was referred to Ruth Casey at Addenbrookes’ Hospital in Cambridge, whom Mari was also captivated by. Mari initially had oral chemotherapy, and also agreed to take part in a clinical trial, which was a direct result of her love of science.

At the end of August 2022, Mari started on an intense course of chemotherapy. After three rounds, she was unfortunately too weak to continue with the treatment and the chemotherapy was halted. Mari sadly passed away in July 2023. It is important to say that she remained very positive throughout her illness. She retained her determination to continue to eat healthily and always had a smile for visitors, despite how poorly she felt.

In addition to her two children, Mari also has two grandsons, of whom she was immensely proud, and she always encouraged them in their studies. The older one is now studying science subjects at sixth form, taking forward Mari’s passion for science.

Given that Mari and her husband wanted to make a donation to the department that had looked after her, for use towards research or in whatever way was most effective, Professor Levy suggested that the Society for Endocrinology would be best placed to use this donation, to support those working in adrenal cancer. As a result of the donation by Mari’s family and friends, the Society is very pleased to be able to mark her life with the Mari Green Adrenal Cancer Award.

Despite standing at only five-feet tall, Mari was a formidable and driven woman, who inspired everyone she met throughout her life and career. Her donation to the Society for Endocrinology to help support members working in adrenal cancer will ensure that her impact is felt for years to come.

We are very grateful to Mari’s family for providing this personal insight into her life. More information about the Adrenal Cancer Award, and how to apply, will be available soon.

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