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Woman to run 10k to support unit that potentially saved the life of her husband

Tracey FeeneyThe caring and life-saving work of staff on the Macmillan Unit at the West Suffolk Hospital, in Bury St Edmunds, is something that Tracey Feeney has much to be thankful for.

And now she is planning to run 10K next month to raise funds for the department which potentially saved the life of her husband Gareth who had a rare blood disease called immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) as her way of repaying the treatment he received.

She has been training for the run, which takes place on Sunday, September 13, during lockdown and has already had over £580 of her target of £500 pledged which is being raised for the My WiSH Charity, that supports the work of the hospital.

Tracey, who lives in Bury St Edmunds, said her 34-year-old husband was diagnosed with the complaint in July 2019 and has been receiving treatment since then.

ITP is a bleeding disorder in which the immune system destroys platelets, which are necessary for normal blood clotting.

People with the disease have too few platelets in the blood. The normal platelet count is between 150 and 400 thousand million platelets per litre of blood but at its worse Gareth’s count was at eight.

It meant he had a critical count at risk of internal bleeding or bleeding on the brain and when platelets get this low you must stay in hospital to be prepared for a transfusion if a bleed occurs.

Tracey said: “Gareth spent a lot of time in the West Suffolk Hospital and in particular the Macmillan Unit where he had countless appointments and tests with the haematologist doctors and nurses and countless phone calls and sudden hospital visits at all hours. They were always so friendly and helpful and just made the entire nightmare as easy and comfortable as possible, despite the hours spent waiting for platelets to rise and test results. It kept on yo-yoing all the time.

“It is mostly due to these amazing people in an amazing unit why he is in remission and back to full(ish) health again although there has been a couple of times when he has felt unwell.

“Although in remission, it could come back at any time with a vengeance and regular appointments and tests are ongoing for the foreseeable future. The Macmillan ward at West Suffolk Hospital and the doctors and nurses working there potentially saved Gareth’s life.

“I want to give directly back to this unit and I know that no amount of money will ever be enough, but I believe the unit would greatly benefit from money raised and I’m hoping to try and raise as much as possible to show our gratitude.

“There was never a truer saying than every little penny counts, especially for a unit such as Macmillan. The pennies are potentially the difference between life and death.”

She was hoping to run the Beowulf Trail, at West Stow Anglo Saxon Village and Country Park, but has had to settle for running the 10k route round her estate and nearby Rougham because of the Covid-19 restrictions.

And the 35-year-old art teacher at the Samuel Ward Academy, in Haverhill, has been training for the event three to four times a week.

Sally Daniels, fundraising manager praised Tracey’s determination and thanked her for supporting the Macmillan Unit. “Supporting local is just fantastic. Raising money for My WiSH Charity means it can go directly to their local cancer centre where they, their friends or family may be treated. We can actually show them how their money will make a difference”.

People can support her by going to her Just Giving website at http://www.justgiving.com/Tracey-Feeney1


Charity Registration Number:1049223