Cancer survivor keeps promise to save lives

Cancer survivor Paul Hussey finished the Comrades Marathon in June in 11 hours and 48 minutes. Supplied

Cancer survivor Paul Hussey finished the Comrades Marathon in June in 11 hours and 48 minutes. Supplied

Published Jul 8, 2023


Durban - A 54-year-old cancer survivor has started a crowdfunding campaign to help him donate a dialysis machine to Addington Hospital so they can treat patients with kidney failure.

Paul Hussey moved to South Africa from the UK in 2014, but his health failed, and he was admitted to Durban’s Addington Hospital.

When his kidneys failed, he was transferred to the intensive care unit at Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital for specialised dialysis. He was also diagnosed with stage 4b lymphoma.

A May 2014 picture of Paul Hussey. SUPPLIED

“I was only 45 years old in May 2014 and I looked like a skeleton with skin. With cachexia, a condition that causes extreme weight loss and muscle wasting, my face was gaunt, drawn and discoloured. Cancer was absolutely ravaging me, and I made a promise to myself, the universe, God, and humanity that one day I would run the Comrades Marathon so I could promote my awareness campaign,” he said.

Hussey kept that promise this year, running the June marathon in 11 hours and 48 minutes.

Nine years ago, Hussey travelled with his mother back to England for cancer treatment, which happened to be the day after the 2014 Comrades Marathon.

“I was in a wheelchair at the airport travelling back to the UK for medical treatment surrounded by hundreds of athletes all wearing their Comrades medals, looking super fit, and excited with that amazing sense of achievement having run 89kms in the hot African sun. In that fateful moment, I could not have felt further away from where they were,” Hussey said.

Specialist physician Dr Prashant Parag was Hussey’s treating doctor at Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital in 2014.

“Overcoming such serious health conditions to complete the Comrades is an exceptional story of the triumph of the human spirit, and we congratulate him on this incredible achievement,” said Parag.

“Paul has had a transformative journey from kidney failure to malignancy and cancer treatment, to make a powerful comeback in the most inspiring way. Today he is a healthy athlete who is raising funds to help others in need of the dialysis that helped him on his journey to health.

Hussey never forgot the two hospitals in Durban that assisted him in his time of need.

He recently returned to visit Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital and Addington Hospital to share his message of hope and appreciation for the care he received.

“In 2014, I was so ill, I was bedridden, and I could barely stand unaided. Through the window of my hospital room, I caught a glimpse of the tranquil garden and imagined myself sitting in it, healthy and without a care in the world. For me to go back there, sit in that garden and play my flute felt like I was completing a circle and honouring my past sick self.

“For people who are going through cancer diagnosis or treatment, don’t give up because you never truly know what lies ahead. It helps to hold onto a goal and a vision of yourself healthy in the future,” said Hussey.

Netcare and the Comrades Marathon Association have made substantial donations to help Hussey’s cause.

People interested in contributing to Hussey’s ongoing fundraising initiative can visit

The Independent on Saturday