“I just feel angry and want to do something to try and stop other people having to go through what we are going through.”
Those are the heartfelt words of bride-to-be Susan Stanworth, who has told of the devastating news of finding out her fiancé had cancer just months before they’d planned to marry.
Peter Lawrenson, of Longmoor Lane, Nateby, near Garstang, was given the tragic news at the start of January.
The 55-year-old HGV driver first experienced problems in March last year.
One evening he came home from work and told his partner Susan that he didn’t feel quite right.
Later that evening, Peter became confused and wasn’t making any sense, so worried Susan, 54, called for an ambulance.
Initially, medics told the couple they thought Peter had suffered a stroke. After further tests at the hospital, Peter was referred to an oncologist, and was finally diagnosed with a brain tumour in July last year.
The couple say they were told the tumour was slow growing and small.
But when he returned for a scan in December last year, Peter and Susan were informed that the tumour had grown, and Peter would need an urgent operation to remove it at the Royal Preston Hospital.
Peter had the delicate surgery on Christmas Eve, and was in hospital until New Year’s Eve.
Sadly, the couple were told that surgeons were unable to remove the whole tumour because it had become attached to blood vessels.
Further treatments wouldn’t be able to cure him, only improve the quality of his life and give him more time with his loved ones.
Peter had an intense three- week course of radiotherapy, and has just started chemotherapy.
Susan, who works at the Hilton Hotel in Blackpool, has chosen to speak out about their experience to highlight the need for further research into life-saving cancer treatments, ahead of Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life fund-raiser in Preston later this month.
Hundreds of people are expected to flock to Moor Park on Sunday, May 24 to take part in a sponsored 5K or 10K event to raise money for vital research into the disease.
In Blackpool, the same event will be held on Blackpool Promenade on Wednesday, July 1.
Susan, who met Peter on an internet dating site back in 2010, says the couple hit it off straight away with a shared sense of humour and love of the same foods.
They used to enjoy going for long walks along the canal and bike rides together, which sadly Peter can now no longer do, and they had been looking forward to getting married in June this year.
But Peter’s condition has deteriorated, so the wedding is now on hold while he undergoes chemotherapy and Susan has also taken some time off work to care for him.
Susan says: “This time last year my biggest worry was planning what to wear for my wedding.
“I’d finally found a lovely family man who treated me so well.
“Now we’re going to appointment after appointment, and I’m so worried about Peter.
“Everyone keeps telling me I’m brave, but I don’t feel it. You just do what you have to do. We try to have a laugh when we can.
“We are still hoping we might be able to do a scaled-down version of the wedding day if Peter starts to feel a bit better.
“Peter gets very confused and has memory loss.
“He is now attending a day centre so that I can do some shifts at work.
“Our world has been turned upside down.
“I want to do something to try and stop other people having to go through what we are going through.
“That’s why I’m speaking out ahead of Race for Life in Preston this weekend to highlight why more research into this dreadful disease is so important.
“I saw Race for Life on Facebook one day and thought, ‘Why the hell not? I’ve got someone very important to fight for!’ And I signed up that day.
“It might not be enough to save Peter, but one day we will beat this disease, and other couples won’t have to go what we have been through.”
Susan plans to run Race for Life with the couple’s black Labrador Tessa, and will be watched by Peter’s son, Daniel Lawrenson.
Daniel’s girlfriend Becci Jade Winder is also taking part in the 5K.
They hope Peter can also attend if he feels well enough.
Cancer Research UK is holding a variety of fund-raising events across the country.
For more information about Race for Life, and to sign up, log on to http://raceforlife.cancerresearchuk.org/choose-your-event/index.html.