Dawn Faizey-Webster: a triumph of the heart
Her mother, Shirley, 75, tells of Dawn’s girlhood – loved (and spoilt) little
sister to Mark, now 54; achieving in the 1980s a sixth-form place at Queen
Mary’s Grammar School in Walsall, where she developed a love of science and
heavy metal music; a degree in psychology and computers at the University of
Marriage to depot manager Simon, a fellow Black Sabbath fan, followed, then a
job as a financial adviser, and eight years enjoying married life but hoping
for a child. When, in 2002, Dawn became pregnant, aged 30, she was
delighted. But at 26 weeks, her mother noticed her ankles swelling. “I told
you to go to hospital,” she says. “Doctors were worried straight away. She
had pre-eclampsia, and then barely a week later, Alexander was born by
caesarean section, weighing 1lb 8oz, and was taken to the neonatal intensive
Dawn had been home for only a week when she began experiencing dizzy spells,
neck pain and excruciating headaches.
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After a brisk hike in the wilds of the Hebrides, Derek Ripley usually felt tired but invigorated.
The walking breaks with his wife, Judith, and a group of friends were a welcome distraction from his job as a taxi driver in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire.
But one evening, back at his hotel, he noticed a slightly sore, red patch on his shin, about the size of a 10p piece.
'I didn't think too much of it and just went to sleep,' says father-of-two Derek, 66, who also has three grandchildren.
'But when I woke next morning the skin over the patch had broken away and there was a little hole in my leg.'
When it failed to heal after a few days, he went to his GP and was tested for type 2 diabetes - leg ulcers are a classic complication of the disease.
Although Derek was slightly overweight, he was quite fit. But there was a family history of the condition, with his mother and brother both affected.