Brave mum will be guest of honour at Race for Life

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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

Wendie Wheeler is liv­ing with in­cur­able can­cer

Wendie with her daugh­ter Melissa

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