"It kept me focused and determined during my treatment," says 55-year-old Cheltenham Mum Sue Kent, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in the midst of training and fundraising for an epic 1000-mile cycle ride for our Leckhampton Court Hospice.
Sue was due to take on the 1000-mile Land’s End to John O’Groats (LEJOG) challenge for Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice with her husband Simon earlier this year when she received the news she had breast cancer. Sue said,
"The day I held a big cake sale fundraiser ahead of our planned charity bike ride, I had just heard that I had been diagnosed with breast cancer," she recalls. "It was so hard telling the children I had cancer as my husband, Simon, battled Hodgkin’s Lymphoma back in 1999, and had been through six months of intense chemotherapy and radiotherapy. We all still have memories of that.
"Fortunately, I was lucky: I quickly had an operation followed by three weeks of radiotherapy," Sue explains.
Staying in the saddle - even during treatment
To keep herself motivated during her treatment, Sue cycled to each radiotherapy appointment.
"I was determined to cycle to every radiotherapy appointment, no matter how tired I felt. I wanted to keep going and to keep on cycling," she says. "I was given the all clear, and ten days after my treatment finished I was back in the saddle on a planned cycling holiday abroad."
The husband and wife charity cycling team rescheduled their planned cycle ride to make sure Sue was fully recovered and fit before the off.
They are now gearing up to set off on 27th August from Cornwall.
“The LEJOG is a classic bike ride and one we have always wanted to do together," adds Sue. "It will be the furthest we have ever cycled.
"Patients rave about the care they receive at Leckhampton Court"
"We want to raise £2,000 for Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice as it is such a wonderful charity," she continues. "Fundraising for Sue Ryder is a real family affair for us as our daughter Ellie is also raising funds for Leckhampton Court by taking part in this year’s Cheltenham Half Marathon in September.
"Close friends have been cared for by the hospice at the end of their life, so we all wanted to give something back for the amazing care given.
“Before I had breast cancer, I worked as a physiotherapy assistant supporting people with MS & Parkinsons and many of my patients came to the Day Hospice at Leckhampton Court," Sue says. "They all raved about the care they received there.
“Lots of people think Sue Ryder only looks after people with cancer, but they care for so many different people with so many different conditions. Through our cycle ride, we want to raise awareness of this whilst raising funds so their specialist care can continue.”
"After cancer, we both live for the moment"
"Our family and friends are all being so supportive of our charity cycling challenge and we would like to thank them all – especially those like our close friend Nick who is meeting us at John O’Groats to drive us back home," continues Sue.
"Some people are amazed we are still doing it, but we won’t let what’s happened stop us.
“After both having cancer, we both live for the moment. We only have one life and we plan to make the most of it," she concludes.