Lollipop lady Wendy is back on her beat
SCHOOL crossing warden Wendy Booth has fought back from cancer to continue ensuring children have a safe journey to and from school.
The 62-year-old has returned to work outside Newstead Primary School after 10 months off sick, five operations and having to learn to walk again.
Wendy, from Meir, had suffered with a lump on her left foot for two years when she was sent to hospital in November for tests to investigate why her suspected ulcer was not disappearing.
It was only following a biopsy that she discovered it was malignant melanoma.
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The grandmother-of-four said: "I burst out crying when I was diagnosed and asked my husband if I was going to die.
"After that, I swore at it and told it to go away.
"I love my job so I set a target to be ready in time for the new term in September. It is an amazing feeling to be back."
Wendy returned to her job on full hours yesterday.
She started as a crossing warden two-and-a-half years ago and said the support from staff, children and her bosses helped to keep her going during treatment.
As well as the tumour in her foot, Wendy also found one in her groin.
She had surgery to remove both lumps in January, followed by more operations and skin grafts on her foot.
Her recovery was dealt a blow when scans showed more problems in her pelvis, but most signs of concern disappeared before she began a trial of a new sort of chemotherapy.
It meant Wendy could have more surgery instead, and had her last trip to theatre in June.
She said: "We were all worried when they found problems across my pelvis.
"I was supposed to have a trial of chemotherapy but the lumps went down apart from one, which was the size of a two pence piece.
"They have said the cancer has gone now but I'm still having check-ups every three months.
"The whole experience has been really, really hard but the support I've had has been amazing.
"I have pretty much had to learn to walk again and spent almost eight months on crutches.
"Staff at the hospital were great and my husband Mick has done everything for me."
Wendy, who has two sons and a step-daughter, added: "This has made me value things a bit more. I want to tell people that if they receive news like this, they should not give up.
"You have to stay positive, set yourself a goal and you will get there."
Parents raised concerns about safety while Wendy was off work, leading to bollards being put up on Waterside Drive to stop people parking on the pavements.
More calls were made for improvements when 12-year-old pupil Courtney Holdcroft was knocked down and killed outside Blurton's Ormiston Stanley Matthews Academy in June.
Parents of pupils at the primary school, which feeds into the academy, say things were difficult while Wendy was off sick and have welcomed her return.
Leian Yates, a full-time mum, sends one of her three children to Newstead Primary.
The 24-year-old, of Thatcham Green, Blurton, said: "There was no end of trouble trying to cross the road when Wendy was away so we're very glad she's back and well.
"The kids have missed her."
Mum Siobhan Jennings, aged 28, of Waterside Drive, who send both her children to the school, said: "The cars won't stop without Wendy there. Some of the older children walk to school on their own so it is good to have her back to help them."
Wendy now hopes to complete the Cancer Research UK Race for Life event at Trentham Gardens next year.