Cancer survivor walks 50km to mark 50th anniversary of mum’s death
Monday 4 December 2023
A keen walker has hiked a staggering 50km along the River Thames in a single day to fundraise for Guy’s Cancer Charity.
Steve Weiner, 60, has set out to raise £100,000 – one of the biggest fundraising targets of any individual fundraiser for the charity - in memory of his mother, Susan, who passed away from breast cancer when he was just 10 years old.
Steve, who is originally from the US but now lives near Tower Bridge, walked through his adopted hometown of London in 10 hours and freezing temperatures on 30 November. Starting from Walton-on-Thames, he finished his longest ever walking feat at the front door of Guy’s Cancer Centre. Along the way he was joined by friends and family for support.
Steve trained for his challenge in stages along the River Thames and Hudson River, New York. However, he had never walked that far in one day before. Steve said:
To walk so far was incredibly challenging. Along the way I kept reminding myself of conversations I’ve had with other cancer survivors and that fuelled me to keep going.
Steve’s challenge was inspired by his mum, who spoke openly about her experience with cancer on US TV. He said:
My mom was always a fighter - eloped at 19, mother at 21 and cancer survivor at 24 - everyone thought there was still a lifetime ahead of her.
1972 was a different time and not much was known about what it meant to have cancer. To speak so openly about her diagnosis and treatment was incredibly brave, and she showed everyone how you can live life after cancer.
It’s 50 kilometres, one to mark each year since she passed, and 31 miles, a mile for every year of her life.
In 2017, Steve faced his own cancer battle. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer and received treatment at Guy’s Cancer Centre. After successful surgery, Steve has been cancer free for the past 6 years. His daughter, now 28, was named after his mum and has had genetic testing to understand her cancer risk.
Steve and his younger sister, Stacy, were brought up by his mum’s sister, Judy. Steve said:
She did so with courage and generosity, having lost her sister and other close family members to the same disease.
The impact of cancer is deeply personal. Lives, such as mine and my mom’s, were forever shaped by the series of moments that begin with a diagnosis.
Steve was no stranger to the Trust when he was diagnosed with cancer. He had been non-executive director on the Guy’s and St Thomas’ Board of Directors since 2014. During his 9-year term he ensured that the executive team acted in the best interests of patients and the public, whilst also being a patient himself. He continues to support health care institutions in London, and is currently honorary treasurer at King’s College London.
He is fundraising for Guy’s Cancer Charity to help support others in their own cancer journeys. Steve, who was a finance executive at Unilever before he retired, said:
Everyone experiences cancer differently, and it is so important to have personalised care and support throughout those unique moments of fear, sickness and hope.
Mr Rick Popert, Steve’s surgeon, said:
Steve has a strong connection to the Trust having been a non-executive director and a former patient.
In this fundraising challenge he is demonstrating yet again his commitment to ensuring patients and their families are at the heart of everything we do. Myself and the team wish him the best of luck.
Guy’s Cancer Charity supports Guy’s Cancer to transform cancer care through the very latest developments in personalised care. From tailored treatments to the ongoing support of the dedicated clinicians, they help support advances in cancer care.
Catherine Hart, Director of Fundraising at Guy’s Cancer Charity said:
It’s due to fundraisers, like Steve, that we are able to support Guy’s Cancer and provide the best possible care. His ambitious fundraising target will help patients and their families access the very best personalised treatment and care, and continue Susan’s legacy of inspiring others.
Last updated: December 2023