Susie Harrison, 58, from Ferring, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer just before Christmas.
It progressed to an incurable stage four last month and despite this, Susie has decided to back the Cancer Research UK campaign ‘Play Your Part’ and by sharing her story, she hopes she can inspire others to make a difference.
Susie said: “As a result of the pandemic, cancer is as urgent an issue as it’s ever been, so I hope people will play their part.
“Every action, big or small, helps Cancer Research UK to ensure more people survive or have kinder treatments.”
Speaking about her recent diagnosis, Susie said surgery this time isn’t an option but she is keen to persuade others to help beat cancer.
She said: “There are lots of ways people can help. For me, it’s volunteering in the Arundel Cancer Research UK shop – and you can choose the hours to suit.
“Even a few hours can make a big difference, or it could be taking part in Race for Life, holding a fundraising event, or just making a donation.”
Susie began volunteering at the Arundel Cancer Research UK shop in September 2018. She had just celebrated her first year there when she became ill and took a break.
The treatment Susie faced was difficult, but she said regular cards and messages from the shop team ‘lifted her spirits’.
Susie was determined to live as normal a life as possible, so she decided to return to the shop as often as she could.
She said: “Going back to the shop was fabulous. I’ve made some very good friends there, with Sue the shop manager, and the other volunteers.
“There’s a ‘togetherness’ about it — we’re like a family. I’ve also met some lovely and fascinating customers — some come from all over the world.
“The shop has given me purpose. When I’m there, my life isn’t about cancer, it’s about me. Being able to say to people ‘I’m back at work’ has given me the biggest lift I’ve had.
“Even before I had cancer, being part of the shop made me feel four inches taller. It’s just a lovely thing to be part of.”
Based on the average annual number of new cases of all cancers combined, excluding non-melanoma skin cancer, diagnosed in the South East Region between 2015-2017, in the South East, around 52,100 people are diagnosed with cancer every year.
According to Cancer Research UK, the charity’s work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has been at the heart of progress that has seen survival in the UK double in the last 40 years.
The charity’s ambition is to see three in four people survive their cancer by 2034.
Lynn Daly, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for the South East, said: “We are grateful to Susie for her support. Cancer is relentless but so are we.
“We will never stop striving to find better treatments, but we can’t do it alone.
“This past year proves, more than any other, the value of research and what can be achieved together. Just like science is our route out of the pandemic, science is our route to beating cancer.
“We want to harness the ‘people power’ of our supporters because the progress we make relies on every hour of research, every pound donated and everyone who gets involved.
“Whether they donate, fundraise, volunteer at our shops or pledge to leave a gift in their Will — with help from people in Sussex, we believe that together we will beat cancer.”
Susie has future plans to help research. “I’m going to donate my body to research — I think I can provide quite a puzzle for them, and it means I’m still helping,” she said.
Donate to support life-saving research here.