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Tributes pour in for ‘inspirational’ accountant Elliot Dallen

18 September: Tributes have flooded in following the death of 31-year-old chartered accountant Elliot Dallen, whose moving testimonials about living with terminal cancer made a huge impression with readers around the world.

Dallen was diagnosed with adrenocortical carcinoma, an extremely rare and aggressive cancer, in his late 20s for which he had been undergoing chemotherapy. In April, he was given a terminal prognosis with the expectation of just a few months to live. Dallen passed away on 7 September, the same day the Guardian published the second of his articles, in which he reflected on his life and gave us an emotional insight into his cancer journey – from the day his oncologist broke the news that his treatment wasn’t working to acceptance of his inevitable death.

In the two articles he penned for the Guardian, he reflected on being denied a “good death” due to the cruel timing of a terminal diagnosis under lockdown and how the love and friendship of his nearest and dearest had made his last two years, in his words, “the best two years of my life.” 

The publication of his first Guardian article in April resulted in a huge response from readers profoundly touched by his experiences and positive outlook in the face of such a heart-wrenching situation. Former Labour leader Ed Miliband was among the many hundreds to send messages of support after reading Dallen’s poignant testimonial. “Thank you Elliot Dallen for writing it and for your bravery and honesty. I am sure you have touched lots of people with what you have written. My heart goes out to you,” Miliband tweeted.

On his blog, The Cortisol Diaries, Dallen said that the original Guardian article had originally set out to give a new perspective to people stuck inside, but soon turned into something far more due to the response it had garnered. “I expected that it may resonate with some people going through something similar to me but the surprise was that it clicked with so many more who were struggling during lockdown, or just wanted to reach out to offer their support,” Dallen wrote. 

Dallen graduated in 2011 from the University of Exeter with a first-class honours degree in Economics with European Studies. Dallen went on to train as a chartered accountant at the National Audit Office, spending almost four years with the NAO, latterly as an audit principle. He joined Barclays Corporate Banking in February 2017 and was Assistant Vice President in the Business Performance and Analytics team until he was diagnosed with terminal cancer back in April.

Sharron Gunn, ICAEW’s Executive Director, Members, Commercial and Shared Services told ICAEW Insights: “Even during the most difficult of times, Elliot was still able to provide hope and comfort for thousands of others – something which speaks volumes for the depth and kindness of his personality. As an institute, we’re proud to have called him a member and hope that his words and actions will continue to inspire others. Our thoughts are with Elliot’s family, friends and colleagues.”

For details of the charity being set up in Elliot’s memory, please visit elliotdallentrust.org