TWO brave Littlehampton sisters are gearing up to give cancer the boot after losing their dad to the disease.
Lily and Poppy Souter, aged seven and three, and mum Vicky, 32, have written a defiant message to cancer on their boots to show they mean business as they get ready for Worthing Race for Life, on June 22.
Lily and Poppy lost their dad, Nick, to lung cancer in December, 2013 – just weeks before his 40th birthday.
Their ‘beat it’ cancer message footwear symbolise the steps being taken by tens of thousands of women at Race for Life events across the UK to help bring forward the day when cancer is cured.
“Cancer has robbed us of a lovely husband and father to the girls,” said Vicky, “Nick had gruelling treatment and fought every way possible so that he could spend as much time with me and the girls as possible and create lovely memories for us all.
“Taking part in Race for Life is my way of honouring his memory and of doing what I can to help prevent other families being torn apart by this horrible disease.”
Nick, who worked for a pharmaceutical company in Hove, had been fit and well until 2012, when he developed a persistent cough and pains in his neck and throat.
“He’d had a motorbike accident in the October and at first we put it down to that,” said Vicky. “However, his coughs and colds just wouldn’t shift and on Christmas Day of that year he started to cough up blood. I just knew then this was nothing to do with the accident. I knew it was something much more serious.”
X-Rays revealed a shadow on Nick’s lung and after undergoing further tests the couple were given the devastating news that he had stage three lung cancer.
Vicky said: “We were told the worst case scenario would be a prognosis of six to nine months and the best, one to two years.
“I just broke down in the doctor’s room. Nick ended up supporting me, I felt so selfish as it was him that had the diagnosis but I was the one completely distraught.”
Nick began a back to back course of intense chemotherapy and radiotherapy which left him so ill that at one point his lung collapsed.
Nick completed his treatment in July, 2013, and generous family and friends clubbed together to pay for the family to go on holiday to Disneyland Paris.
“We had a truly magical time. The girls still talk about it,” Vicky added.
Vicky is now calling on other people to join her in the charity 5k in Worthing.
“It’s heartbreaking to know that he’ll never see them grow up and mark all the usual milestones in their lives,” she added. “It really is awful watching a loved one going through cancer.
“You just feel so helpless. That’s why we’ll do anything we can to boot it out for ever.”
To enter Race for Life, see here or call 0845 600 6050.