A group of cycle racers are planning an epic trek across the length of the UK in thanks for the care and treatment received by a mum-of-two at Blackpool Victoria Hospital’s Breast Care Unit.
Suzanne Lefley, 49, discovered a lump during a family holiday and was given the devastating news that she had an aggressive form of breast cancer in December 2013.
She had an operation to remove the cancer, underwent a course of chemotherapy and radiotherapy and was told she will be on a series of medications for the next five years.
She is now using the experience to warn others of the importance to check for breast cancer.
And her heroic battle has inspired her husband, Martin, and a group of his friends to take on a gruelling 1,000 mile cycle race from Lands’ End to John O’Groats in just five days.
Martin, 47, said: “We have chosen the toughest challenge we could do because we know how hard it’s been for Suzanne. But no matter what level of pain we are in, and how tough we find it, it’ll be nothing compared to what she went through.”
Suzanne, who works as a letting agent in Blackpool, first discovered a lump in her breast while on holiday in Egypt in August 2013. She went to the doctors later that year and was referred immediately to the Breast Care Centre at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
She said: “I’ll never forget the moment they sat me down and told me I had cancer. It was stage three, and very aggressive.”
Mother-of-two Suzanne had a lumpectomy operation on Christmas Eve, and had to wait over Christmas and New Year to hear whether the cancer had spread.
“That was the worst time of all of it – the waiting for that ‘all clear’ and not knowing what my future would be,” she said. “If it had spread to my lymph nodes, the cancer would have gone through my body and it would have been a completely different story.
“This all came out of the blue. I look back at photographs from that holiday and I look the healthiest I’ve been for a long time and at no point was I ill. I have no history of breast cancer in the family, so this came as a huge shock for all of us.
“I have nothing but positive things to say about all the staff at Blackpool. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be here. They did a lot for me, and they do a lot for everybody. That’s why I want to give something back in thanks for everything they did.”
Martin, a keen bike racer, and his team will be cycling 200 miles a day as part of the June challenge in aid of the Hint of Pink organisation which supports the Breast Care Unit at Blackpool through hospital charity Blue Skies Hospitals Fund.
They are raising money specifically for a Faxitron machine, which will allow surgeons to examine skin and tissue removed from the body in the operating theatre, reducing the waiting time between the operation and diagnosis.
The team is now looking for sponsorship for the challenge. email firstname.lastname@example.org.