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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

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Lesley has been my rock while Hospice at Home West Cumbria has become my supporter, says Keith

“My wife has been my rock for all these years and does everything for me.

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SUPPORT: Dearham couple Keith and Lesley Edmondson are backing the Times & Star campaign to raise money for a clinical therapy room at the new Hospice at Home West Cumbria Centre on Finkle Street in Workington

“Without her I don’t know what my life would have been like,” says lymphoedema sufferer Keith Edmondson.

Mr Edmondson, 66, of Newlands Park, Dearham, has suffered from primary chronic lymphoedema for 53 years.

It caused his left leg to swell, he has to take antibiotics every day, and he has developed arthritis in his right leg.

Wife Lesley, 64, gets him in and out of the bath, dries and dresses his leg and does tasks around the house.

She puts on his stocking from toe to thigh and then another to the knee.

Every evening he sleeps in an electric bed with his leg elevated, and he uses a Flowtron Pump for eight hours a night when necessary.

Mr Edmondson adds: “I have got used to my leg being like this but it has hindered what I could do.

“People staring at me and making comments as I walked down the street was the hardest to take.

“If you’re in a wheelchair people know that something’s wrong, but with this condition they don’t understand and they just glare at you.”

Mr Edmondson is speaking about his situation to show how the Times & Star’s Hospice @Finkle Street Appeal can help him and many others.

The money will be used to buy equipment for a treatment room at Hospice at Home West Cumbria’s new centre in Workington.

The centre will provide the hospice’s lymphoedema team with a permanent base.

Mr Edmondson adds: “The clinic will provide vital support for people with lymphoedema who will be able to access treatments that I didn’t have in the early stages.

“They might be able to catch things quicker than I did and live a more comfortable life.”

Mrs Edmondson, a volunteer for hospice, says: “We never realised there was such thing as a hospice lympoedema nurse until January 2006 when we had to replace the Flowtron Pump at the West Cumberland Hospital.

“Keith sees the nurse every six months and she has helped us to dress the leg properly and has advised us on exercise techniques; all things we didn’t know before.

“We’ve since joined hospice’s West Cumbria Lymphoedema Support Group, where Keith has got to meet others who suffer from the condition. We have speakers and get advice.”

Mr Edmondson’s condition started when he was 13 and away at scout camp at Calderbridge but was not diagnosed for six years.

He later gave up his job as a weighbridge operator at the opencast site at Broughton Moor in 1997.

Mr Edmondson added: “My wife has been brilliant throughout. I tell people I don’t know where I would be without her.

“I feel I have made new friends through the group and do not feel so alone in my illness.

“I’d say to other sufferers out there: help is available, you just need to go out and grab it.”

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