From the time of his diagnosis with advanced prostate cancer in September 2015 Steve Sumner was determined to make the most of his life, and especially to promote awareness of the number one cancer in New Zealand men.
Steve announced his diagnosis very publicly and kindly agreed to become an Ambassador for the Prostate Cancer Foundation. In his many media appearances and statements since he has always included an encouragement for men to “get tested” to avoid being in the situation he had found himself with a late diagnosis and incurable disease.
He noted in a recent interview that he was aware of at least four men who had heeded his encouragement and, after being tested, had been diagnosed with early stage localized disease that would be treatable. “Thankfully they can do something about it,“ he was quoted as saying.
Steve became an inspiration to many of his fans, and fellow prostate cancer patients as he sought to battle this disease. In speaking at our National Prostate Cancer Conference in July last year, where he really told it like it was for him and his family, he received a standing ovation from the audience, so inspiring was his speech.
While Steve will be remembered as a great footballer and Captain of the famous 1982 World Cup team, his impact on prostate cancer awareness among New Zealand men and their families has been significant. “He was always positive, always up for the fight when I spoke with him” says Graeme Woodside, CEO of the Prostate Cancer Foundation. “He has been a great inspiration to me and our team to continue to promote awareness and provide support to the many men, and families, who are living with prostate cancer. Our deepest sympathy and condolences go to his wife Jude and all the Sumner family at this time.”