Emporia woman urges people to take coronavirus seriously so she can get lifesaving cancer treatments


EMPORIA, Kan. (KSNT) – As coronavirus cases keep climbing, one Emporia woman is making a plea to her neighbors to take this virus seriously. She said even if she never gets it, the impact it’s having could cost her her life.

Sue Claridge is a breast cancer survivor with a sense of humor when it comes to her health.

“I would like to live long if possible and that wasn’t looking too good,” Claridge joked.

It was no laughing matter when she was diagnosed with cancer again after already beating it once. This time the cancer she has is a different rare form of cancer that hides in soft tissue, making it harder to treat.

Not one to give up, Sue dyed her hair purple, just for fun, and got ready to fight cancer again.

She was lucky enough to get into a clinical trial at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. The treatment from that trial was able to shrink her tumor in half.

“They provided for me a whole extra year of life, which was amazing,” Claridge said.

Then it started to grow back and right about the same time the pandemic hit.

“I couldn’t get in for a biopsy, because elective surgeries were suspended at MD Anderson,” Claridge said. “I came home and I thought ‘wow I’m just growing a tumor here.'”

With coronavirus cases still climbing and overwhelming hospitals, including the one she was going to in Texas, she’s left to sit and wait.

“A lot of people think this has been blown out of proportion. Well, it’s not for me. It’s very real,” Claridge said. “That part is frustrating, because I would like my neighbors to not be so willing to let me die.”

Claridge said it’s nobody’s fault she got cancer, but everyone can help her beat it by taking simple precautions like wearing a mask.

“You could be a patriot who has the right to not wear a mask. But put a mask on, because we’re uniting to defeat this disease to help your neighbors,” Claridge said. “You may never know what you’ve avoided in getting sick yourself, but you’ll really probably never know whose life you saved.”

Saving her life means more time to do the things she loves like spending time with her kids and playing the flute.

“I would like to die trying and I can’t right now, and I find that frustrating,” Claridge said.

Claridge said it’s important to remember that there are so many people like her that may look perfectly healthy, but it’s impossible to know their situation and how this pandemic is effecting their life.

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