Husband’s gift of thanks to medics who cared for his dying wife

Vic Avery and his daughters, Julie Percival and Wendy Key presenting nurses from the Haematology and Chemotherapy day unit at Sunderland Royal hospital with money raised from a 65th memorial birthday for Arleen Avery.

Vic Avery and his daughters, Julie Percival and Wendy Key presenting nurses from the Haematology and Chemotherapy day unit at Sunderland Royal hospital with money raised from a 65th memorial birthday for Arleen Avery.

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A CARING husband has helped raise funds for hospital staff who helped make her wife’s dying wish come true.

Arleen Avery feared she would never get to meet her granddaughter and great-granddaughter after she was left confined to a hospital bed while battling leukaemia.

But despite being racked with pain and under heavy medication, she managed to cradle both grand-daughter Mazie and great-granddaughter Ebony before she died.

In honour of staff at Sunderland Royal Hospital, who helped prolong Arleen’s life, husband Vic and his family organised a charity night at the Lakeside Club, in Gilley Law, in aid of Ward E55 and the Day Unit.

The fund-raisers have handed over a cheque for £3,000 to grateful doctors and nurses.

“The turnout for the charity night was fantastic, which did not surprise me because the impression Arleen left on people who knew her, or had just met her, was the amazing warmth she showed them,” said Vic.

“She was a beautiful person.”

Arleen, who also had five children, 19 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, was given the devastating news in 2008 after visiting a doctor complaining of weakness and fatigue.

After tests, the 64-year-old was told she had acute lymphoblastic leukeamia and was admitted to hospital for treatment.

Initially, she was told she had as little as six weeks to live, but she beat the odds to survive and after months of treatment returned to her home in Gilley Law.

Vic, a retired customer care worker, said his wife was always determined to beat the cancer, overcoming a potentially fatal bout of pneumonia.

Having met as teenagers, the couple renewed their wedding vows last February after 45 years of marriage.

Surrounded by her family, Arleen died in Sunderland Royal Hospital on August 27.

More than 500 people attended her funeral.

“I can’t say enough about the staff from ward E55 and the Day Unit, who I call my angels, which the fund-raising was all about,” said 66-year-old Vic.

“We raised £2,450 on the night and David Allan, of Alldec Northern Ltd, guaranteed he would make up whatever we were short of in reaching our £3,000 target.

“I would like to thank all my family for all their help in putting the event on, everyone who gave raffle prizes – including Sunderland goalkeeper Trevor Carson for all the football gear he donated – and all of those who came along on the night.”