A DODWORTH woman accepted her award in the New Year Honours List to show others that cancer ‘isn’t the end of the line’.
Cheryl Sanderson BEM admits she took a number of days to accept her award because she didn’t think she was ‘worthy’.
She was a recipient of British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to cancer patients in South Yorkshire in the latest honours list.
The 57-year-old trained complementary therapist was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 and started the ‘We Can Survive Singers’ group in 2019.
As a therapist, she worked at Barnsley Hospice and The Well and was often in touch with patients who had been affected by cancer.
She said that creating the singing group, which brings those affected by the illness together, has changed her life.
“The thing that got me through my cancer was speaking to other people,” she said.
“You can feel incredibly lonely and vulnerable – especially after treatment.
“I decided that I wanted to set up the singing group and coffee club – we all have a bit of fun.
“It’s so nice to be able to see people blossom.
“People have said that it’s changed their lives and it’s changed my life.”
Cheryl admits that when she received the letter notifying her of her recognition she didn’t think she ‘was worthy’ – but after a few days of deliberation she decided to move forward with the award.
“I didn’t think I was worthy of this – it took me a few days to accept this,” she added.
“I don’t know who nominated me and I was really surprised.
“I still feel coy about it now.
“I don’t do all of this on my own – it’s all about partnership.
“I’ve worked very closely with Macmillan, Creative Recovery, The Well and Asda. My husband John has been my rock.
“But I decided that I wanted to accept it for all the people who have had cancer. I wanted to show people what you can achieve after – cancer isn’t the end of the line.”
Ian Margerison, Partnership Quality Lead at Macmillan Cancer Support added: “We are absolutely delighted for Cheryl who fully deserves this recognition. Cheryl has gone above and beyond for the cancer community and her positive impact on the lives of those living with and affected by cancer cannot be overstated.”