STAND­ING TALL

Fundrais­ing one step at a time

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Matthew New­ton

WHEN Sue Shaw was just 16 years old, she lost her mother to brain can­cer.

Af­ter din­ner one evening, her mum, Betty, had a fit and be­gan con­vuls­ing on the floor of the fam­ily’s Mt Ju­lian home.

She was rushed by am­bu­lance to Mackay Hos­pi­tal where the doc­tors per­formed some tests and dis­cov­ered a tu­mour the size of an or­ange on the right side of her brain.

An op­er­a­tion in Bris­bane and ra­dio­ther­apy gave her another 18 months with her fam­ily, but she even­tu­ally lost her bat­tle in 1982.

Now 49, Sue be­lieves a cure for can­cer would have not only saved her mother but also changed the course of her life.

That’s why she’s walk­ing in this year’s Can­cer Coun­cil Queens­land Whit­sun­day Re­lay For Life.

“I prob­a­bly went off the rails a lit­tle bit af­ter she passed away. I had dad’s sup­port but I didn’t have a mother there to help me through ev­ery­thing,” she re­calls.

“I had a cou­ple of years where I was lost ba­si­cally; 16 is not a good age to lose your mother.”

Af­ter Betty’s death, Sue’s fa­ther be­gan fundrais­ing for can­cer. He wrote three po­etry books and do­nated $14,000 of the pro­ceeds to can­cer re­search, and $26,000 to other char­i­ties.

Since then, Sue’s mother-in-law has sur­vived breast can­cer, her fa­ther-in-law has sur­vived prostate can­cer, and her brother has sur­vived leukaemia and bowel can­cer.

“I think it’s fit­ting for me to try and help fundraise for can­cer,” she said.

Sue, along with her team­mates from Ray White, will take to the Whit­sun­day Sportspark on the week­end as part of this year’s Whit­sun­day Re­lay For Life.

The re­lay be­gins at 3pm Satur­day and teams will conti- nue walk­ing for 18 hours – keep­ing their team ba­ton mov­ing con­tin­u­ously through­out the two-day event in sup­port of all Queens­lan­ders af­fected by can­cer.

Can­cer re­search has come leaps and bounds since Sue lost her mother to the dis­ease, and she hopes that, by tak­ing part in Re­lay for Life, she is able to make a dif­fer­ence.

“Things are im­prov­ing all the time. If we had the tech­nol­ogy then that we had now, mum prob­a­bly would have sur­vived,” she said.

“A fam­ily friend has brain can­cer; she’s 26 and re­cently had surgery and she’s go­ing great. The dif­fer­ence in her out­come to Mum’s out­come is huge.”

More than 300 peo­ple will take part in the re­lay.

You can sup­port them by turn­ing up on the day, or by vis­it­ing www.re­lay­for­life.org. au or phon­ing the Fundrais­ing Hot­line 1300 65 65 85.

Photo: Matthew New­ton

STAND­ING TALL: Sue Shaw (right), Adam Web­ster and Stephanie Ba­con from team Ray White will walk to raise funds for can­cer re­search at this year's Whit­sun­day Re­lay for Life on Satur­day and Sun­day.

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