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Healthcare assistant to skydive for cancer charity after terminal diagnosis

Sky diving team Alison Bartlett, Terri-Ann Baker, Sue Downs and Paul Camilleri who are raising money for the haematology and oncology department at Peterborough City Hospital. EMN-141108-102903001

Sky diving team Alison Bartlett, Terri-Ann Baker, Sue Downs and Paul Camilleri who are raising money for the haematology and oncology department at Peterborough City Hospital. EMN-141108-102903001

A health care assistant who works with cancer patients will fulfil a lifelong skydiving dream after receiving her own terminal diagnosis.

Sue Downs joined the oncology and haematology ward at Peterborough City Hospital in March after being given the all clear for breast cancer.

But in July she received the devastating news that the cancer has returned and cannot be treated. She is now turning her 
efforts to raising money for the medical team which 
cares for her.

Sue, of Welland Mews, Stamford, said: “Being diagnosed with cancer completely turns your world upside down.

“Going for chemotherapy for the first time is a scary place to be.

“It’s an environment you’re not used to with people you don’t know but the staff are amazing. You soon realise you are in safe hands.”

Sue’s first diagnosis came in April 2012 and she was given the all clear 18 months later after chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy.

She said: “There wasn’t one big moment of celebration but it made me continue to live for each moment and do all the things I want to do.”

Sue, 50, previously worked as a holistic therapist but hospital staff suggested she apply for a job on the oncology ward.

She said: “It gives me a great sense of purpose I have never felt before. There is a wonderful loving and caring atmosphere on the ward.”

After four months in the job, a scan confirmed Sue’s cancer had returned.

She received the news during a 12-hour shift at work and was told because it had spread to her lymph nodes, it is terminal.

She said: “After 10 minutes of telling myself I couldn’t do this, I had a coffee and finished my shift. You have two choices - to carry on or go under. For me it’s a good thing not to be given a time frame.

“I’m thinking in terms of years - you have to otherwise it’s too scary.”

Sue will now take on a skydive at Sibson Airfield on August 31 with friend Alison Bartlett and colleagues Terri-Ann Baker and Paul Camilleri. They hope to raise £3,000 for the oncology and haematology ward.

Sue will be supported by daughter Hayley and grandchildren Thomas and Evie. She said: “I’m so excited. I feel like I can do whatever I want now.”

To sponsor the team visit www.gofundme.com/c3uzjk.

 

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