A dad whose wife tragically died just weeks after giving birth to their little boy is helping Coronation Street with Sinead Tinker’s cancer in pregnancy storyline.
Pete Wallroth, 38, set up the charity ‘Mummy’s Star’ in memory of his wife Mair after discovering that there were no organisations helping women who are diagnosed with cancer during pregnancy.
He was approached earlier this year to help the soap’s scriptwriters make sure they get the storyline right.
He’s already met with Sinead actress Katie McGlynn, 25, and is due to meet her on-screen husband-to-be Rob Mallard, 26, who plays Ken Barlow’s son Daniel Osbourne, later this month.
Speaking exclusively to the Daily Star Sunday Pete praised the hit ITV soap for tackling the issue and is hoping the storyline will help raise awareness because sadly many cancer symptoms in pregnancy are missed.
Pete said: “Mair was four-and-half months pregnant when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
She had an ache in her left breast which she initially put down to the fact that she’d previously breast fed our daughter. We thought it was to do with her milk coming through. She mentioned it during a routine appointment and they arranged for her to be seen at the breast clinic.
They knew what they were dealing with and she was diagnosed within the hour. That’s a big problem because some symptoms of cancer can be shielded by pregnancy.”
Mair was treated part way through her pregnancy and after the birth of their son Merlin she started treatment again.
But tragically she’d developed secondary cancer and died just ten weeks later.
Pete added: “The significant impact is caring for the person that you love at a point when they are going through a serious illness and trying to balance that with looking after a newborn baby.
It was being conscious of my daughter Martha’s emotions too, watching her mum go through such vigorous treatment and then support her and myself when she died. It was only then that I discovered that there weren’t any organisations for mums who get diagnosed with cancer when pregnant.
They feel really isolated anyway because they are pregnant, and in a lot of cases they are amongst the youngest people being treated on the cancer ward. It’s also about the challenges they face by not being able to be the parent they envisaged. They’re shattered from treatment, not able to physically participate and of course it stops the enjoyment of the pregnancy.”
Pete set up Mummy’s Star to help other women and now runs it full time with four members of staff.
And on helping Corrie he said: “We’ve been working with them for a number of months now so that the portal of emotions that she is likely to go through are as accurate as they can be.
Myself and one of the mum’s we support here at Mummy’s Star sat down with Katie and talked through the kind of experiences that I saw my wife go through and what the lady had been through, her worries and her fears.
As a husband I was able to talk about my experience which will impact further down the line when I meet up with Rob. We don’t know what’s going to happen to Sinead but I’m so pleased that Corrie have decided to cover this issue because it’s still a bit of a taboo subject.
They have a really good record of tackling those difficult issues, you only have to look at Aidan’s suicide and David’s rape ordeal to know the impact they can have. They’ve involved us every step of the way and I’m still speaking to them once a week. I can’t praise them enough for what they’re doing with Sinead’s story.”
Readers can check out all the work that Pete does by going to www.mummysstar.org
“When you think about cancer you never think of someone who is pregnant going through it”
Sinead actress Katie McGlynn calls for cancer tests
CORRIE star Katie McGlynn thinks it’s ridiculous that women have to wait until they are 25 before getting a smear test.
Her character Sinead was told last week that she may have cervical cancer after attending her 12 week scan.
But at only 24 years old she didn’t think she could get that type of cancer because she’d never even been for a smear test before.
This week viewers will see her go for a biopsy as fiance Daniel Osbourne organises their surprise wedding.
Speaking about the heartbreaking storyline Katie admitted that she still doesn’t know what will happen to her character.
She said: “When you think about cancer you never think of someone who is pregnant going through it. Sinead is only 24 so for viewers to watch someone so young go through this, and with all the dilemmas she’s going to have to face, well that can only be a good thing. All I know is what’s happening over the next few months, so I don’t know if she will survive this. But as an actress it’s a great opportunity for me and it’s opened my eyes to a lot issues surrounding what Sinead is going through.”
One issue is the call for the smear test age to be lowered to 18.
At the moment, all women who are registered with a GP are invited for cervical screenings between the ages of 25 to 49 and repeated every three years.
Katie added: “There’s so many girls and women that I’ve spoken to who don’t go for smears. I don’t think women should have to wait until they are 25 – I think it’s ridiculous because it does happen to young people.”