Gwenda's story

Main image of Gwenda

I’d been struggling with bladder pain for quite some time. When the biopsies came back, my fiancée and I were devastated to find out that the diagnosis was for bladder cancer.

I underwent chemo and radiotherapy in Manchester, and because of this I started to lose weight. Luckily, I received amazing support from Macmillan nurses, who helped us come to terms with and manage the illness.

"One nurse told me that I'd benefit from exercise and healthy eating, and I was given a walk programme for Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles, with information about their walks in Wigan."

My fiancée and I joined the Pennington Flash walks on Mondays and Thursdays - we were made to feel so welcome and at ease straight away, even though I often confused people by turning up each week in different coloured wigs and hairstyles! Over the next year we continued walking, it has helped us communicate and come to terms with the illness. Our relationship was and still is the strongest it has ever been. We have also built up friendships with many of the walkers and volunteers, and remain close to this day. The walks are fun, always interesting, and are a breath of fresh air.

Due to all our misfortunes and ill health. My fiancée and I tied the knot at Leigh registry office, January 19th 2013. This was the happiest day of my life. On the morning of my wedding day my dress had to be pinned together because of the weight loss.

I have now been in remission from bladder cancer for over 12 months, and I've put a healthy 12 pounds back on. I weighed 8.5 stone, about right for my height. I still have days when I am in a lot of pain, but I keep walking, pushing myself through the pain barrier. Exercise is in itself the best medication as it increases the endorphins making you feel on top of the world. Me and my husband would recommend walking with Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles.

"I wanted to give something back to the walks programme, as a way to say thank you for all the support they gave me."

So I completed my training and I am now a walk leader myself. By doing this I hope to make a difference to other people, if only through chatting to people and making them feel wanted and listening to their stories. This helped me and I am sure it will help others.