In July 1979 Sue Young received a call from her Father to let her know that her mother had been taken ill. Sue was 27 years old with two young children and living in Leicester. Ten weeks later her mother died from a previously undetected advanced, aggressive ovarian cancer.
After her mother’s untimely death at 51 years old, Sue was approached by the Director of Leicester Voluntary Services, to respond to a need for cancer support for patients and families. In November 1981, the self-help group Coping with Cancer (CWC) was founded.
Sue went on local radio to promote the group and was overwhelmed by the huge interest of local people wanting to volunteer their services, outnumbered only by the number of cancer patients and families, desperate to access these services.
The first formal meeting was held in the autumn of 1981 in a rented, small room at Leicester Charities Association, Friar Lane, Leicester, courtesy of a small £50 grant. The embryonic first committee established there agreed unanimously that their purpose was to ‘provide emotional and physical support and friendship to cancer patients and their families’. This mission remains unchanged today.
The group went on to rent various spaces across Leicester with their befriending support service becoming well established as a popular city centre drop in.
In 1993 Helen a 29-year-old woman sadly died of ovarian cancer. Her husband raised an incredible £150,000 in her name and formed The Helen Webb Trust. The Trust used their funds to purchase 35 Westleigh Road in Leicester, which was to become the permanent home of CWC. Originally the Helen Webb Trust rented the property to the group but in 2007 they made the generous gift of the property freehold to CWC.
Over the years the group has continued to grow and has achieved many wonderful milestones such as being awarded the Queens Golden Jubilee Award in 2003 for ongoing provision of services by the group for cancer patients and their families.
Over recent years the services offered have become more varied and extensive, from complementary therapies and counselling support to befriending, mindfulness, mediation and movement classes.
In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic triggered many changes as it had serious effects upon the income and practical operation of the charity. Our charity has chosen this challenging time to relaunch and rebrand the group. Our mission statement remains unchanged, with support for all who are suffering from the effects of cancer at its very heart. The charity will now be known as Sue Young Cancer Support, in Leicestershire and Rutland, taking its name from its original founder, who still takes an active interest in the group and its exciting future. These changes will be in place for 2021 when SYCS looks forward to celebrating 40 years of helping cancer patients and their families, whatever their need.