‘Live life to the full’: Stratford grandmother with cancer plans fundraising dance

Elizabeth Wallace is organising a charity dance night to help fight loneliness. Pic: JON KING

Elizabeth Wallace is organising a charity dance night to help fight loneliness. Pic: JON KING - Credit: Archant

A widow battling cancer is getting her neighbours dancing to defeat loneliness.

Elizabeth's husband Harry with his cousin Ruby. Pic: ELIZABETH WALLACE

Elizabeth's husband Harry with his cousin Ruby. Pic: ELIZABETH WALLACE - Credit: Archant

Elizabeth Wallace from Stratford, was diagnosed with lymphoma four years ago. She has survived sepsis and copes with Crohn’s disease.

After fracturing her hip in a fall – caused by a sudden drop in blood pressure – she fell into depression, only calling on her youngest daughter Ann-Marie for help.

Mrs Wallace said: “Loneliness is a terrible thing. There are a lot of people who suffered like me. People stuck in their homes. You can get into a spiral of depression.”

Over half of all people aged 75 and over live alone, according to government figures available online. Another 1.9 million older people often feel ignored or invisible, according to charity Age UK.

Elizabeth's husband Harry with his cousin Ruby. Pic: ELIZABETH WALLACE

Elizabeth's husband Harry with his cousin Ruby. Pic: ELIZABETH WALLACE - Credit: Archant


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So to bring people together in her community the selfless grandmother is organising monthly dances for people aged over 65.

The proceeds of ticket sales will go to three charities close to her heart – London Air Ambulance, Manor Park based support group Cancer You Are Not Alone (CYANA) and Richard House Children’s Hospice in Beckton.

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Mrs Wallace described how paramedics from the capital’s helicopter emergency medical service saved her daughter Deborah’s life when she had a cardiac arrest four years ago.

The 40-year-old was brought back from the brink three times during treatment by an air ambulance crew.

She is now well and working part-time with animal charity the RSPCA.

Mrs Wallace hailed the fantastic support that staff from CYANA in Snowshill Road give supporting cancer patients and their families.

For the retired nurse, who worked at Newham University Hospital for 16 years, Richard House holds special memories after she helped raise the money needed to build it.

Asked what motivates her, Mrs Wallace said: “My outlook is live life to the full, be positive and help people that can’t help themselves.

“I’m a very determined person. When I was at Newham Hospital I was known as the worker, not the shirker.”

And the music fan is already putting a playlist together with old favourites by Rod Stewart and Shirley Bassey lined up for the four hour long ticketed dance which has already sold out to 30 friends and neighbours.

“One thing that keeps me going is music. It makes you think of memories of loved ones,” she said.

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