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Editor returns to full-time work after year-long cancer battle

Dave Whaley

A regional daily editor is returning to work full-time after a year-long battle with throat cancer.

Dave Whaley, managing editor of the Oldham Evening Chronicle, was diagnosed with throat cancer at the end of April last year and has since undergone radiotherapy and had vocal cords removed.

He has written a series of pieces about his cancer battle under the title “Keep Smiling” and penned the final one last month ahead of a full-time return to work.

After undergoing radiotherapy last summer, Dave was initially given the all-clear but was later told the cancer was still present and he needed surgery.

In the last of his columns about his cancer battle, Dave wrote that he was making a good recovery and thanked everyone who has supported him.

He wrote: “On the last day of April, 2014, I heard the word ‘cancer’. On the last day of April, 2015, I plan to be sitting poolside in Tenerife, champagne in hand, toasting ‘life’ alongside my wife and friends.

“All that has happened in those 12 months I have conveyed to paper and the response to the ‘Keep Smiling’ articles has been uplifting and humbling.

“So many of you have let me know how they have drawn inspiration from my own experience as they take on their own battles.

“‘Team Whaley’ has been massive. I haven’t felt alone during a single step of this fight, such has been the determination of all around me to be positive about outcomes and encouraging when times got tough.”

Dave wrote that he was “continuing to astound the doctors with my recovery” and after taking his first sip of water only weeks ago after his vocal cords were removed, was now able to eat anything.

He said that after managing to put on some weight, he was able to return to work, initially on a part-time basis.

Wrote Dave: “I look healthier, not so drawn in the face and with more colour. The return to work even impressed the unflappable Professor Homer when I went for my latest check-up last week, which included the obligatory camera up the nose routine.

“I still don’t have much of a voice — it’s more of a whisper that isn’t much use when there is any background noise — but improvement, we were told, will come in time and I have to be patient.”

He added: “So here I am, back behind my desk on Union Street and reunited with my big brew mug Stripey.

“Once again, I thank all those who have been on this journey with me. It will be a few years before I get signed off by the Prof, and life will never really return to what stood for normality before.

“We have a very different outlook on that now — hence the hastily arranged holiday in Tenerife prior to a full-time return to work. My outlook remains totally positive. This adversity has brought our family closer together than ever before.

“My last word has to be about my wife and my rock, Wendy. She has been at my side every step of the way and if she asked me for the world, somehow I’d get it.

“All she asked was for me to win this battle. So far so good…”


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