On the run to beat cancer

Blackpool Zoo Operations and Commercial Manager Sue Ward with the Lemurs.
Blackpool Zoo Operations and Commercial Manager Sue Ward with the Lemurs.
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Even the animals at Blackpool Zoo will be cheering on Sue Ward when she takes part in the Race for Life next month.

Sue, who is operations and commercial manager at the famous attraction, was
diagnosed with a rare type of cancer when she was aged 20.

Now 39, the cancer survivor is taking part in the 5k event in July to raise funds for Cancer Research – and she wants other women to join her.

Race for Life Blackpool will be held on The Promenade on Wednesday July 10 at 7.30pm.

Mum Sue became unwell 19 years ago when she was serving in the Navy and was based in Portsmouth.

She was due to set sail on a Caribbean trip but, after a visit to her GP because of feeling unwell and suffering with extreme fatigue, she had to pull out of the journey.

Sue underwent tests at a hospital in Southampton and within weeks she was given the devastating news she had Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. It was rare, as it had developed in the cervix and womb.

Sue had to have surgery to remove the tumours from her cervix and womb, before starting chemotherapy treatment.

Doctors later told her she might not have survived had she taken the trip to the Caribbean as the cancer was already advanced.

At the time, Sue was told she would be unable to have children naturally.

But, after undergoing IVF treatment, Sue and her husband David are proud parents to their daughter Poppy, now aged eight.

Sue, who lives in Blackburn, said: “I was only 20 when I was diagnosed with cancer and it came as a massive shock to me.

“It was a really difficult time because I was so young. When I started feeling unwell, I never for one minute thought it would be cancer.

“It was strange at such a young age to be told I wouldn’t be able to have children naturally – I was at an age when I hadn’t even started thinking about having a family.

“But, Poppy is my little miracle and we are so lucky to have her.”

This year, Sue, who is a keen runner and has run the New York Marathon, will be taking part in Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life for the first time.

She added: “I’m really looking forward to Race for Life. Without the research funded by Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, I might not be here today.”

To enter Race for Life go to www.raceforlife.org or call 0845 600 6050.