Gruelling walk for charity

Left to right, Andrew McKie who took part in the walk, Denise Sheperd, a sister at the hospice, Dean Barrett and his wife Wendy.
Left to right, Andrew McKie who took part in the walk, Denise Sheperd, a sister at the hospice, Dean Barrett and his wife Wendy.
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A LOVING husband and his pal put themselves through the pain barrier in a gruelling walk to raise money for two charities.

Dean Barrett, 47, and Andrew McKie, 32, completed a marathon 56-mile walk from Scarborough back home to Hartlepool.

The fantastic efforts of the two pals helped to raise more than £1,000 which was split between Hartlepool & District Hospice and Macmillan Cancer Support.

The charities are extremely close to Dean’s heart.

His wife, Wendy, 43, suffered with cancer for more than a year before being given the all-clear from melanoma last week.

Sadly, the mum-of-two still suffers from lymphedema – a blocking of glands – due to her battle with cancer, and has had to undergo gruelling surgery to remove 15 lymph nodes.

She still receives care from staff at Hartlepool & District Hospice and Macmillan Cancer Support.

Dean, a former groundworker who now cares full time for Wendy, said he wanted to give something back to the two “fantastic” causes, so organised the walk.

Dean, who lives with Wendy, in Lindsay Road, Hartlepool, said it was the hardest thing he has ever done, but was over the moon to raise the amount of money he did.

Along with Andrew, a care home worker who also lives in Lindsay Road, they managed to raise £833.69 for the hospice and a further £300 which was donated to Macmillan.

“I have been a body builder for the last 30 years but that is the hardest thing I have done,” said Dean, a dad to Dean, 23, and Daryl, 21.

“I did a lot of training in the gym in preparation but maybe didn’t do enough walking.

“But there was no way I wasn’t going to complete the walk and to raise that amount was fantastic.”

Wendy said she was extremely proud of Dean’s efforts and is now urging people to be more aware of melanoma.

She said: “People need to be aware of melanoma.

“Until I was diagnosed I didn’t really know anything about it but I was told how aggressive it was.

“The message I would like to pass across to people is just for them to check, especially in the groin.

“Luckily I was given the all clear but now I am having to learn to live with the after effects of lymphedema.”

The onset of lymphedema means Wendy struggles to walk and has caused her left leg to swell to three times the usual size.

She doesn’t know whether it will ever completely heal but remains hopeful and paid tribute to the work of Hartlepool & District Hospice and Macmillan Cancer Support.

Dean added: “I would like to thank everyone who supported us from the bottom of my heart and would like to give a big thank you to Lesley from Manor Wines and Andy from Bodywise gym.

“I want to thank the hospice and Macmillan for the ongoing treatment they are giving Wendy.

“God bless you all.”