In the rough and tumble world of sports reporting, Erin Molan is one tough cookie. But in a revealing interview with her big sister – bowel cancer survivor Sarah Sutton – the vivacious NRL Footy Show host was reduced to tears.
Erin has described her sister, who was just 29 and a mother of two when she was diagnosed with stage three bowel cancer, as “the most inspirational person I have ever known.”
Sarah had just given birth to her second child, son Angus, when she was diagnosed with the disease.
“I was picturing worst-case scenarios. How do you say goodbye to someone that you only just started to get to know?” the now 33-year-old said to Erin, 32, who understandably struggled to contain her emotion at the very thought of losing her sister and leaving her niece and nephew without their beautiful mum.
The two women have paired up to promote the NRL’s Kick Bowel Cancer campaign, and bravely revealed their private family struggle during last night’s show.
Sarah, who has had her entire bowel removed and undergone chemo and radiotherapy, described the past four years as “the fight of my life.” She says if she hadn’t had her symptoms checked early, she wouldn’t be here with Angus and her daughter Sophie today.
In a heartbreaking twist, Sarah told Erin she almost came to terms with the real possibility that she would die, because it meant she would be with her daughter Emily who died tragically during childbirth.
“The whole way through treatment I was thinking I would give anything to see her again,” she reveals.
Thankfully for the Sutton family and for Erin, Sarah has now been in remission for four years – but dread fills her ahead of every six-month check-up.
Erin, who has interviewed some of the top sportspeople in Australia, has only one hero – her sister. The pair are now ambassadors for Bowel Cancer Australia and they want Aussies – no matter what age – to know that they should never accept by a doctor that they’re too young to have bowel cancer.
“You are the most inspirational person I have ever known,” Erin told Sarah. “I am so blessed to have you as a sister and thank God you got tested because we wouldn’t function without you.”
For more information on the symptoms of bowel cancer or to make a donation, visit Bowel Cancer Australia. For more on the NRL’s new initiative go to NRL Kick Bowel Cancer.
Watch the emotional interview in the video player above