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Nursery nurse who beat cancer dies from heart attack at the age of just 48

A 48-year-old nursery nurse who beat cancer has tragically died from a heart attack two years later.

Wendie Wheeler, of Up Holland, Lancashire, suffered a cardiac arrest on May 14 at 5.25am, having endured a long battle with hodgkin and non-hodgkin lymphoma.

Becky Payne, a dear friend and neighbour of Wendie, told Lancashire Live that the death ‘just happened’.

She said: “It was a real shock. We never would have expected that to happen to her.

“There were no signs or symptoms or anything, it just happened.”

Described as a funny and generous woman by friends and family, Wendie leaves behind her loving daughter Melissa Wheeler and infant grandchild Arnie.

Although Wendie expected her cancer to return one day, she was prepared for another fight and her sudden heart attack was said to be totally out of the blue.

“She knew that the cancer would come back but I think she was prepared,” said Becky.

“She had fought once, she would fight again. She knew it wasn’t going to be an easy life but she cherished what she had in front of her.

“She was a good person, fantastic, brilliant. She would give anyone anything, she would give someone her last penny.

“She always made me laugh and smile, always.”

Wendie was born in Up Holland on July 2, 1973, to Pauline Wheeler.

Pauline raised Wendie, her sister Tracy, and her brothers Sean and Jason, remaining as a constant presence in their lives.

Though she originally worked as a carer, Wendie later retrained and became a nursery nurse.

Becky said: “Everything she did was centred round caring, whether it was old people or babies, that’s who she was.

“We all lived on Millers Nook together and we formed this little community there, we used to come out for street parties together and birthdays.

“We used to call her Boris Johnson because she was the authority on the nook, when she spoke up people listened.”

Wendie was dedicated to her family and loved spending time with her many nieces and nephews.

She also had a strong and special relationship with her daughter Melissa who had recently given birth to Wendie’s first grandchild Arnie.

Wendie married the love of her life Helen Wheeler in 2017 and the couple spent four happy years together.

Becky said: “They were the greatest couple you could hope to meet, it was a privilege spending time with them.

“Wendie lived for her family, she was definitely a family-orientated person, she loved her daughter.

“The bond they have, I’ve never seen anything like it before, it’s amazing.”

In March 2015, Wendie was diagnosed with hodgkin lymphoma, a rare form of cancer which begins in the blood cells.

Wendie struggled through a horrendous cancer battle, not only undergoing debilitating chemotherapy but also suffering from serious infections and complications.

But Wendie never let the cancer get the better of her, taking time to plan her and her daughter’s weddings while undergoing treatment.

“Even when she was really unwell she would smile through it, she wasn’t one for self pity,” said Becky.

“For her to see Melissa get married and have a baby was the best thing in her life.

“She never thought she would get to see that.”

Wendie eventually underwent a stem cell transplant.

The operation was successful and led to Wendie being mostly cancer free from 2018.

But sadly on May 14, 2021, at 5.25am, Wendie suffered a sudden heart attack and died.

Becky and the rest of the Miller’s Nook community are raising money to give their friend Wendie a proper send off.