Peter proves anything is possible

Posted 6 Jun 2018.

The Symonds family at the HBF Run for a Reason

Peter Symonds, is one of our incredible supporters who last weekend completed the 21 km half marathon in the HBF Run for a Reason and has so far raised over $13,200 for West Australians affected by cancer.

This is the third time Peter has ran the HBF Run for a Reason fundraising for Cancer Council WA and this year, facing a terminal diagnosis, he was more determined than ever to complete the run and show other people that it is still possible to do anything if you set your mind to it.

Read Peter's inspiring story, as reported on Perth Now below.

When Peter's doctor told him there was "no cure" for the cancer he had been battling for the past three years, it didn't click straight away he was being told it was terminal.

The enormity of his doctor's words only dawned a few weeks ago when he was lying in hospital recovering from his second neck dissection surgery to have cancer-riddled lymph-nodes removed.

But it wasn't the 59-year-old's own mortality that brought clarity to the father of six - it was the news his wife Kirsten, 46, and mother to his two youngest kids, had discovered she had a brain tumour.

"When I came out of the anaesthetic from surgery, Kirsten came in and said, ‘I've got a tumour on my brain'," Peter said.

"Kirsten had been having vertigo and dizzy spells and had gone to get a scan.

"I didn't know what to say when she told me and I was feeling a bit out of it. But when she left, I lost it, I fell apart a bit.

"I was thinking, here we are as two parents with two young kids - Amy's almost 11 and Lee is 12 - and they've already seen a lot of bad things in the past three years with everything that's happened to me.

"And that's when I realised what the doctor had been trying to tell me before, that I'm terminal."

Peter was first diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in 2015, and soon after was diagnosed with a second, unrelated cancer called a neuroendocrine tumour in his pancreas.

After countless doses of radiation and chemotherapy, as well as surgery and radioactive injections, doctors told him in December the great news that only a handful of tumours were left.

But in March, scans showed the cancer had come back with vengeance, requiring him to have more surgery.

But even with a terminal prognosis, Peter's outlook on life is far from gloomy. The Symonds family instead opts for a more optimistic perspective.

"You know, being terminal is not the end of the world because the doctors can keep you going for a very long time," Peter, of Booragoon, said.

"So the plan is they keep me going for as long as they can and in the meantime, with all the cures going on, I'm just waiting for my turn for a cure."

Peter said the family was also hopeful that additional scans would confirm that Kirsten's tumour was benign and then work out a way forward with treatment for her.

"It was pretty heart-wrenching telling the two kids about their mum because they've seen so much bad stuff with me already," he said.

"But we try to get on with life, we've learnt how to bounce back, and try and stay positive."

Peter successfully completed the half marathon last Sunday, while Kirsten, Amy and Lee all completed the 12km.

We cannot thank them enough for their determination and generosity.

Their inspirational efforts will help fund vital cancer research, run life-saving education programs, and support the thousands of WA families affected by cancer each year.

To donate to the Symonds' HBF Run for a Reason page, visit

Peter's story originally appeared on Perth Now

Found in:  News - 2018 | View all news