The Sam Johns Foundation
In the space of one week in September 2017 FLM suffered two tragedies. The first was the death of one of our directors and longest standing employees, Sam Johns. On the 3rd September 2017, Sam lost her heroic battle to aggressive melanoma which she had been fighting on and off since November 2015. Without sounding like a cliché, Sam really was and remains an inspiration to all that had the pleasure and honour of working with her. She had the most positive outlook on life and throughout the horrific ordeal remained stoic, so much so she coined the phrase ‘no wimps on my team’ which was a reminder to her family and close friends that everyone needed to remain strong. Her strength carried her through the horrific ordeal of fighting cancer from the beginning to the end. I remember her calling me to tell me she wouldn’t be in work as was actually in hospital after two tumours had been found on her brain. I will never forget the calmness in her voice and absolute determination that she will fight this and get through it, which initially she did, but tragically the belligerent disease kept coming back. Her illness shook the company, everyone remained in disbelief how something so awful could be happening to someone so wonderful. In true FLM style our people supported one another and did what they could to support Sam. Encouraging emails, letters & text messages were sent, visits to Sam in hospital and at her home in Tooting were frequent and there was not a day that went by that she was not talked about. She remained at the heart of FLM and one year on this remains true. Sam died peacefully in her sleep at The Trinity Hospice in Clapham surrounded by her husband, family and obedient side kick Rafiki, her dog.
Four days later FLM tragically suffered another loss. Colette Cross who had moved over from Australia in February 2017, was our Marketing Executive. She had epilepsy, something she had lived with for many years and by her own admission would not stop her doing anything. In a short space of time Colette had formed many close friends at FLM, she was outgoing a team player and excelled in her role. On September 8th, 2017 Colette did not show up for work, which obviously sparked concern with her manager and team. After calling around and speaking to Colette’s housemate no one had seen or heard from her and so they called the police. Colette had sadly died in her bedroom in her flat in Fulham and was found by the police. They think she had suffered an epileptic fit in the night and banged her head and died. On Monday morning the company were called into the boardroom and were given the once more horrific news that a life, so young, had been taken. People were naturally devastated, in shock and disbelief, but once again rallied around supporting one another. Having been at FLM for seven and a half years, at the time, this was probably one of my proudest moments, which may sound odd. However, seeing the genuine compassion, care and kindness that our team at FLM have for one another I believe is unique.
Since this awful week and two tragedies, the Sam John’s Foundation has been set up in Sam’s name but for both girls. We fundamentally wanted something good to come out of the heartbreaks the families, friends and colleagues have suffered. The foundation is a mechanism for us, as a company to support charities that are close to our hearts. Over the last year we have supported the following causes through the foundation, raising over £120,000 through our client referral scheme, charity golf days & company fundraising activities.
Written by Sally Smithson, HR Director