Honiton woman sets up cancer support group

A HONITON woman with a blood disorder that could develop into full-blown leukaemia has set up a support group to raise money for a cancer charity. Maureen Wheatley, 67, of Millhead Road, started the East Devon Supporters Group in November last year to

A HONITON woman with a blood disorder that could develop into full-blown leukaemia has set up a support group to raise money for a cancer charity.

Maureen Wheatley, 67, of Millhead Road, started the East Devon Supporters' Group in November last year to support the Exeter Leukaemia Fund (ELF).

Last year she was diagnosed with thrombocythaemia - a blood condition where her bone marrow produces too many platelets.

She wanted to show appreciation to the Haematology Unit at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, where she was treated and which was paid for by money raised by ELF.


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She said: "They're marvellous at the unit and nothing is too much trouble for them. You can ask any questions and they are there for you."

When Mrs Wheatley was first told about her illness she suffered a bout of depression, but now gets on with her life.

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"It was absolutely shocking, devastating," she said. "They mentioned Leukaemia obviously and that I had to be on mediation. My husband rang our daughter to tell her because I couldn't speak.

"But you come to terms with it and think 'that's life'. I get tired more easily but know what I can and can't do."

Mrs Wheatley had no symptoms but was referred to the unit for tests by her GP, who was concerned about her liver.

She said: "Doctors said I was very lucky I found out when I did. I would have been very ill and wouldn't have known anything about it. As far as I was concerned, I was a fit, healthy person."

She is aware that the condition could get worse and she goes back to the unit every three weeks for check-ups.

She said: "I don't think my condition will get better. Every time I have to go for a check up I have that fear 'is it going to be Leukaemia,' and a sigh of relief when it isn't."

She takes medication including chemotherapy tablets and cannot fly or drink alcohol.

"It's very boring to go to the pub," she jokes. "But I go for my husband - he's been behind me 100 per cent."

Husband Mike, 69, has supported her through her illness and helped set up the support group.

There are currently

The group has already raised �1,000 for ELF through its fundraising activities. There are currently eight members, but anyone is welcome to join and help out.

The next group meeting is on Wednesday, March 18. The next fundraising event is a tabletop sale at Mackarness Hall on Saturday, March 21. The sale will run from 9am to 12pm, and will include bric-a-brac, a tombola, raffle and refreshments.

For more information on the sale or to join the group, call Mrs Wheatley on 01404 450 24.

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