Drusillas Names Baby Squirrel Monkey after Keeper Who Battled Cancer
Over the past year, 21-year-old Zoo Keeper Gabby Charlesworth has bravely battled and defeated adrenal cancer. Directors at Drusillas Park wanted to show their support for Gabby, by naming their new baby squirrel monkey after her.
Drusillas’ Head of Marketing and Director said: “We are so immensely proud of Gabby. It’s hard to put into words how terrible this past year for her must have been. But she is an absolute warrior, and she fought so hard to get not only back to health, but back to work. It was all we could do to keep her away until she was recovered!”
“Gabby is a truly inspirational and amazing young woman, and none of us can express how thrilled we are that we get to keep her. Our Zoo Manager, Sue Woodgate, informed us that squirrel monkeys are one of Gabby’s favourite animals, so we thought it would be a nice surprise if we named our new baby after her.”
Squirrel Monkey parents Etumu and Janosch welcomed their baby on Saturday 19th May 2018. They have now started to show their little one off, proudly parading their beautiful baby around on their backs. Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for mini Gabby; you might be lucky and spot her adorable face peering through the branches in her enclosure.
Zoo Keeper, Gabby Charlesworth, commented: “Last year I was diagnosed with adrenal cancer. It is now 7 months since my operation. Apart from taking out the tumour (I am told it was the size of a mango) with the adrenal gland, I also lost a kidney and part of my aorta and diaphragm in the process – but I have survived, when many are not so lucky.”
“I was never expecting to find I had cancer. I just mentioned on a routine doctor’s appointment that my voice seemed a bit deeper. At only 21, the thought of having anything life threatening never crossed my mind. I was fit and healthy – enjoying my horse riding and job as a zookeeper at Drusillas.”
“Adrenal cancer is extremely rare and aggressive, particularly in my age group, 1 in every million people are diagnosed with it. I was therefore very fortunate to be quickly referred to Kings College Hospital in London, to the specialist endocrinologist and surgeon there. Now I am well enough, I want to raise money to help the amazing team at Kings at the HPB unit, who not only saved my life, but treat others like me with life threatening conditions. In addition, I want 50% of the funds to go to Cancer Research, to continue their work into finding cures for cancers like mine.”
“I am doing a Skydive to raise money for Kings College Hospital and Cancer Research. I have never done anything like this before, but I figure now is the time to do something extraordinary with the life I have been given.”