Camden Haven’s Sue Cross knows what it is like to lose someone to cancer and to also live with a diagnoses of the dreaded disease.
A well known member of the dragon boat community, Sue has lived in Australia for almost 30 yeas, relocating from the UK after her husband died of leukaemia.
“I settled in this special part of NSW, running a beef cattle property on the Tablelands,” she said. “Always being fit and healthy, I started paddling with the dragon boat crew where I met a lot of cancer survivors through this empowering sport.
“But I never imagined a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer for myself. However, at age 61, I was diagnosed in November 2015.
“Having a very aggressive but still operable type of pancreatic cancer and only months to live I agreed to extensive surgery followed by six months of chemotherapy. A year ago I was in remission, beating the odds with determination, support from good friends and I believe pushing myself to excerise daily, particularly on chemotherapy days.”
This fitness regime included getting fit to race at the Pan Pacific Games on the Gold Coast where she linked up with a cancer survivors dragon boat paddlers crew.
The 22 ‘very determined, strong women, made the finals on both days and eventually ended the event with two silver medals.
Despite her efforts, Sue’s cancer returned.
I never imagined a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer for myself.Sue Cross
She raced with her team in Wellington New Zealand, winning the gold medal before returning to chemotherapy the next day in Australia.
“Now the cancer is back and even more aggressive. I am currently on chemotherapy at the Port Macquarie Base Hospital,” she added.
In pancreatic cancer, 3271 new cases have been diagnosed in Australia so far this year, nearly equally men and women, mostly over 50 years of age.
There is a 5% survival rate, the same as 40 years ago. In comparison, the survival rate of brain cancer victims is now 22% with 1366 deaths last year.
So research funding is the key to survival.
“I am doing a head shave for a cure to raise funds for the Cancer Surgery Research Foundation who are working with the CSIRO. They have had a government funding cut in their research funding,” she says.
You can show you support the foundation CANSUR by coming on Saturday November 4 at Laurieton United Services Club at 9.30 am for a sausage sizzle organised by Camden Haven Paddlers for a gold coin, and there will be a head shave at 10am.
The event will be held in the downstairs sports bar by the car park. Even small change counts or send a donation to CANSUR, Cancer Surgery Research Foundation, BOX 1512, Crows Nest , NSW, 2065.