Graduates share stories to support Stand Up To Cancer


Date: 6th Oct 2017

A pair of Buckinghamshire New University graduates who have fought cancer a total of ten times have shared their stories to help launch Stand Up To Cancer month.

Stand Up To Cancer, taking place throughout October, is a partnership between Cancer Research UK and Channel 4 that has raised £38 million since 2012 for clinical trials and research project.

Best friends Lucy Cannon and Helen Burt, both 33, have spoken of their struggles as they appealed for more money to be spent researching the disease.

Lucy studied BA (Hons) Travel & Tourism Management With Air Travel at Bucks New University and Helen studied BA (Hons) Airline & Airport Management. Both graduated in 2005 with 2:1 degrees.

Miss Cannon has had bone cancer, lung cancer and has been twice diagnosed with a carcinoma tumour that was later identified as breast cancer.

Miss Burt has been diagnosed with malignant melanoma on six occasions, each requiring surgery.

“We may be bruised, battered and scarred but we’re in this together,” she said.

Miss Cannon said: "I baulk when people use terms like 'inspirational'. We keep laughing about it. What 'inspirational' means to us is 'not dead yet'."

Miss Cannon had already dealt with her first bout of cancer when they met as teenagers in Somerset. She had Ewing sarcoma, a rare bone cancer, when she was 14.

"When I met Helen I was in a wheelchair, had a stick and I had dreadful hair which was just growing back," she said. "But Helen didn't seem to mind and we became friends."

In 2005 a scan revealed tumours in Ms Cannon's right lung. That was treated with surgery and a stem cell transplant. Cancer returned again ten years later when she found a lump under her breast. It was confirmed as sarcomatoid carcinoma.

She lost her father, John Donald, to pancreatic cancer in February this year. Soon after she was again diagnosed with sarcomatoid carcinoma, but investigation revealed it to be a triple negative breast cancer.

When chemotherapy failed she had a major operation to remove two tumours and carry out a double mastectomy. Ms Cannon is due to start radiotherapy next month. 

Miss Burt feels she has got off lightly by comparison. She was first diagnosed with malignant melanoma in 2007 when a mole in her back had to be removed.

The friends went to the same college and then to Bucks New University. They then worked for airlines and still enjoy travelling. Miss Burt has been clear of cancer for more then two years.


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