Making a difference in memory of Mandy
THE family of the late Mandy Weller are overwhelmed after loyal friends raised more than £3,000 in her memory.
The 38-year-old, pictured below, of New Waltham, battled for nine years with a brain tumour and passed away on Valentine's Day.
And close friends are making sure the "beautiful person" and "loving mother" of two is reaching out and touching lives, having completed the first of many charity events.
On what would have been Mandy's 12th wedding anniversary with husband Ken, 46, fundraisers completed a 16-mile walk in aid of Macmillan nurses, who supported Mandy and her family from the moment she was diagnosed.
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In all, £3,681 was raised.
Ken said his "soulmate" deserved to be remembered in that way and he hopes for many more events like it in the future.
"When Mandy was diagnosed with the brain tumour in 2003, our daughter, Madeline, was just eight months old," he said.
"We were in complete shock, especially as we were told from the start that there would be no cure. But Mandy was never put off by this and in her mind, she was going to beat it and live her life.
"She was the bravest person I have ever met and took each day as it came.
"Family meant the world to her and even through treatment, she wanted to have another child.
"It took a lot of tests and talks with consultants, but we were finally given the go-ahead and she managed to deliver our beautiful son Matthew, now five, into the world."
In December 2010, the couple were faced with another dilemma when Ken was diagnosed with chronic kidney failure.
He was put onto dialysis in November 2011 and says the hardest part was being away from his wife at night.
"By October 2011, Mandy's health began deteriorating and physical signs, such as the side of her mouth dropping, began to show," Ken said.
"Mobility down her left side was a lot weaker, too, so at night she would stay downstairs.
"I had to go and sleep upstairs, so I could be fitted to my dialysis machine. It was very hard to leave her even though she was only downstairs."
In March, his brother donated his left kidney to replace Ken's failing right one.
Although various medication helped to prolong Mandy's life for nine years, Ken believes the Macmillan nurses were an added lifeline.
He said: "Without them being there for Mandy to talk to, things would have been a lot harder to deal with.
"She could get any questions she had answered and any worries eased quickly.
"They were fantastic and this money just shows how much they are thought of by people.
"I am overwhelmed with how much was raised and I know Mandy would have been so proud of her friends."
Madeline, 10, says she had the best mum in the world who loved spending time with her.
She said: "Our last holiday together was in the Gran Canaria and I will never forget it. She was ace."
Macmillan nurse Liz Foster said: "Without these donations our services would cease to exist. They are vital to us.
"We are honoured to have received such a grand amount from a single event.
"Mandy was a wonderful woman – this money will be put towards a number of things we do within the service to help us carry on and do the best we can for others."