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Thursday, 28 August 2014

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Barrow great-gran's cancer pledge

A GREAT-GRANDMOTHER who defied the odds to fight off cancer has said she is determined to “give something back” by helping others facing similar conditions.

Yvonne Bewley and her family were struck by a double tragedy four years ago, when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer within 12 months of losing her husband.

The 72-year-old, of Greengate Street, Barrow, has four children, 13 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. She said: “The hardest part of it all was coming home to tell my family, because they’d only just lost their dad and now they had to deal with the thought of me going.”

Diagnosed after having a polyp removed at Furness General Hospital, Mrs Bewley travelled to the Rosemere Cancer Centre in Preston for more surgery.

After her second operation, she was told she would need a third. She also had to have chemotherapy at FGH and radiotherapy in Preston to tackle the four “hotspots” where the cancer had spread, including her lymph nodes and a tumour on one of her arteries. Mrs Bewley, who lost her parents to cancer and whose brother had also been recently diagnosed, said: “They couldn’t get it all away the first time, and that’s when I realised I didn’t just have it in one place. They basically said there was nothing they could do for me. It was like being hit by a wrecking ball.”

Mrs Bewley has stayed clear of cancer since finishing her treatment in early 2010, and has checks every four months to make sure it has not come back. Now, admitting that fundraising challenges are too difficult for her physically, she has set up a support group, COVE, for those with cervical, ovarian, vulval/vaginal and endometrial cancers.

Mrs Bewley, who is working on the project with an FGH oncology nurse and the Rosemere Cancer Foundation, said: “This is just my way of giving something back.

“A lot of people can’t talk to their families about it, so something like this might help them open up.”

Mrs Bewley will also help raise funds for Rosemere, the cancer charity for South Cumbria and Lancashire, by taking part in a collection held in Barrow as part of its annual Valentine’s appeal.

She said: “It’s my way of trying to thank them. I’m so grateful to them for my still being here.”

Those who want to get involved with the COVE support group can contact Mrs Bewley on 01229 812830. The COVE group is organising a permanent place to hold its sessions, but currently meets at FGH on the third Thursday of every month.

Have your say

what fantastic lady,1st lose her husband,then have to fight cancer,still find time give back to help on a support group,having close mate fighting cancer no the journey to preston back tiring on its owe,hope you have long happy life this day foreward.

Posted by peter whitehead on 22 January 2013 at 02:16

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