Sue was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2017, when a mammogram revealed three tumours in one of her breasts. Less than one year on, she's committed to living life to the full and appreciating the people around her more than ever. Here, Sue tells us her story and her reason for taking part in Walk The Night 2018.
Sue's tumours were treatable, despite being at a Stage 3 and Sue was fast-tracked within the NHS system to have a mastectomy in March. A gruelling course of chemotherapy followed in May.
Sue describes her experience with breast cancer as being harder for her family than for herself. Sue has both a teenage son and daughter (who is severely asthmatic) and it was painful for them to watch Sue suffer through her chemotherapy and the associated side effects of nausea, hair loss and aching bones and muscles.
Sue explains: “The word ‘cancer’ conjures up such a stigma that's automatically associated with death. It's terrifying when you hear it mentioned by doctors and my children automatically assumed the worst was going to happen.
"I wish there was another word for ‘treatable cancer’ with less worry and stigma attached to it. For me, I could adjust and find the strength to get on with it, but for my children, I think they thought that I was hiding something when I said it was treatable. I could see how helpless they felt when they were watching me go through my chemo, but I’m extremely proud of both of them and how well they coped.”
Sue found details of Walk the Night through Facebook and was immediately drawn to the idea of completing the half marathon distance as a way of celebrating her recovery. Both Sue and her husband have completed charity events before for Asthma UK in support of their daughter and now, Sue's looking forward to raising money for the charities Prostate Cancer UK and Breast Cancer Care, which supported her on her journey from diagnosis to recovery. Sue is extremely grateful to the NHS and how lucky people in Britain are to receive free healthcare.
She says: “I have joined different Facebook groups and I’m able to speak to other women around the world, who are in varying stages of breast cancer. I’m grateful to the NHS and the support and high-quality treatment that they’ve been able to provide me and I want to express my gratitude through raising money.”
Reflecting on her experience with cancer, she adds: “I have a love hate relationship with cancer. It wanted to invade my body and tried to destroy me; but at the same time, it has shown me what an amazing family and set of friends I have, and that I should slow down and take time to appreciate my life and surroundings. I now appreciate waking up every morning and taking life minute by minute to live to the fullest.
"Taking part in Walk the Night on 14 July next year means I can also stand united against cancer and I’m looking forward to experiencing the fun and camaraderie with my fellow walkers as we pass London’s famous landmarks.”
As for her outfit for Walk the Night, Sue tells us to look out for her crazy costume: “After going through cancer, I think bring it on I’m going to be and look as crazy as I would like!”learn more about Walk The Night