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Grandmother walking the length of the River Waveney after being diagnosed with Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinaemia



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After being diagnosed with a rare blood cancer, a grandmother-of-three is walking the length of the River Waveney to raise money for charity.

In March, 69-year-old Pennie Walker, from Fressingfield, was diagnosed with Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinaemia (WM) – a rare form of cancer that is found in only 400 people a year nationwide.

While undergoing six cycles of chemotherapy and immunotherapy at the haemotology and oncology department of Ipswich Hospital, the former school governor received support from WMUK – a charity exclusively dedicated to helping people with her condition.

Pennie Walker during the third leg of her 70 mile journey, walking 10 miles from Shortford Bridge in Harleston. Pictured by Mecha Morton.
Pennie Walker during the third leg of her 70 mile journey, walking 10 miles from Shortford Bridge in Harleston. Pictured by Mecha Morton.

“When I was diagnosed with WM, I hadn’t even heard of it. I soon found out about WMUK, and they’ve been a huge help.

“They’re a really small charity and they want to set up a support line that is run by a medical professional.”

Now, just six weeks after finishing her treatment, Mrs Walker is walking the Waveney, from source to sea, to help the charity achieve its goal.

She will be walking the length of the 70-mile river over seven legs, with her husband, Charles, 70, driving her to and from every start and finish point.

Mrs Walker, who lives in New Street, added: “I’m keen on walking and I’m very familiar with the Waveney. As I started to get more fit, I thought, ‘why don’t I do a walk it?’

“I wanted the challenge and I liked the idea of a journey – and, even if we go into another lockdown, it’s something I can still do.”

She has completed 25 miles so far and aims to finish the challenge on April 16 – her 70th birthday.

“For me, it is as much about raising awareness as it is about raising money,” she added.

“It’s such a rare condition, with a bizarre name, so if people who are diagnosed know about it, it can make their experience less frightening – that’s what drives me.”

To donate to Mrs Walker’s fundraiser, click here.



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