Brave mum will be guest of honour at Race for Life
AWOMAN who is living with incurable cancer will be guest of honour at the Race for Life fundraiser later this month. Wendie Wheeler, from Up Holland, is not well enough to take part in the Cancer Research UK 5k event at Aintree racecourse on Sunday, June 18.
But her mum Pauline, her sister Tracy and a gang of friends and family will walk the route as a tribute to her bravery while Wendie watches from the sidelines. Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco, is an inspiring womenonly series of 5k, 10k, Pretty Muddy, marathon and hiking events which raise millions of pounds every year to help beat cancer sooner by funding vital research.
Wendie, aged 43, began to feel ill five years ago.
She was a supervisor at a nursery and while her colleagues went to the gym together after work, she was too exhausted to join them and instead used to have to go home and sleep.
By March 2015, Wendie was in so much pain and after repeated visits to the GP, she eventually felt so ill that she went to the local walk-in centre.
Following an assessment, doctors told Wendie they could feel a solid mass in her stomach. She was referred to Wigan Accident & Emergency for further tests.
Following a biopsy of the mass in her stomach and a bone marrow test, Wendie was diagnosed with both follicular lymphoma and Hodgkin lymphoma.
Doctors explained that it was rare to be diagnosed as having both of these types of cancer at the same time.
For the past two years, Wendie has been having regular chemotherapy and spent most of her time living at The Christie hospital in Manchester. Initially, treatment worked and she went into remission in October 2015.
But the cancer returned last year, meaning doctors needed to try a new combination of chemotherapy drugs.
Thankfully, once again the drugs worked and Wendie went into remission.
Wendie was due to have a bone marrow transplant as part of her treatment with her sister Tracy Wheeler acting as the donor.
However, doctors decided she isn’t strong enough to have the transplant, so have postponed it for now.
In the meantime, Wendie is having maintenance chemotherapy for the foreseeable future at Wigan infirmary.
Wendie was due to marry her partner Helen in March 2016, but sadly she was too poorly.
They are now getting married in September 2017, with 11 bridesmaids dressed in pink and will be giving out Cancer Research UK wedding favours to the guests.
Since being diagnosed in 2015 Wendie, who has a 21-year-old daughter called Melissa, hasn’t worked and this time last year she thought she would die.
But thankfully, the treatment she has received so far has worked and she now looks at life in a totally different way.
Wendie said: “It was a huge shock to be told I had two types of cancer and that I won’t ever be fully cured.
“But I feel blessed to have such amazing family around me and to have Helen for looking after me and being my carer.
“The thought of my daughter Melissa losing me gives me the will to fight.
“Our experience means we understand all too clearly why Cancer Research UK’s work is so important.
“We are proud to join the fight at Race for Life. “My mum taking part at the age of 70 is absolute proof that women of all ages and abilities can take on the challenge.’’
Participants can choose to walk, jog or run around the course.
“There’s an event to suit everyone,’’ said Wendie. ‘‘It’s not about pounding the pavements or racing to the finish line; it’s about coming together to beat cancer sooner.”
Race for Life events will be held at Aintree on Sunday, June 18; at Sefton Park in Liverpool over the weekend of Saturday, July 1 and Sunday, July 2; and at Haydock on Sunday, July 16.
The charity’s lifesaving work relies on the public’s support.
Jane Bullock, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for the North West, said: “By taking part in Race for Life, women can help raise money to fund vital research and make a real difference in the fight against cancer.”
To enter Race for Life please visit www.raceforlife.org or call 0300