Cancer mum’s warning over smoking

Ann McClean
Ann McClean
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A MUM given a year to live says she is a walking advert for the dangers of smoking.

Ann McClean is hoping that by inspiring others not to smoke some good can come of her diagnosis of terminal lung cancer.

Despite only being given the devastating news on January 4, the 62-year-old, of Grangetown, is determined to spread the anti-smoking message.

“I was told from the offset that they couldn’t cure me,” she says. “It wasn’t so horrendous for me but for my partner and my daughter, Paula. I just wanted to know everything. The doctor told me it’s small cell lung cancer which is very aggressive.

“He said I had a year to live but if I had chemotherapy I might have two years.”

Ann’s upbeat attitude is proving inspirational to those around her as she refuses to let the disease fade her positive outlook on life.

The mum-of-one says: “I always say that in every story if you look at the whole plot there is always a good point. Mine is that I won’t get Alzheimer’s, which runs in my family and is an awful disease.”

Ann, who is mum to Paula, 40, often posts humorous anecdotes on Facebook about her ordeal. As a result, she has had messages of support from around the world.

She says: “I don’t want people to think I am being disrespectful, but it’s my way of dealing with it. I’m not special, but I’d like to think my attitude could help other people.

“A lot of people go inside themselves when they are diagnosed with cancer, but I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to sit in a corner crying.”

Ann, of Askrigg Avenue, began smoking when she was 12 and had a 20-a-day habit until she was diagnosed.

She recalls: “When I was younger, smoking was glorified by film stars. You would see all these glamourous ladies with their long cigarette holders. But I can’t understand why kids these days smoke, they have had all the warnings.

“I’m a walking advert that smoking kills and if I can stop one person from smoking, I’ll be happy.

“I want to give them a clip round the ear and shake some sense into them, to tell them that they will end up like me.”

Ann, who is grandma to Amelia, 19, and Jay, 12, had no symptoms that cancer was looming, aside from a bad cough. She went to the doctors 18 months ago, but the tumour on her lungs, the size of a 2p piece, was not discovered until a few weeks ago.

She was told that the cancer has spread to her lymph nodes and that the tumour was too deep for surgery.

Instead, Ann is undergoing chemotherapy at Sunderland Royal Hospital in a bid to prolong the time she has left with her family.

As part of her drive to stay strong, Ann and daughter Paula are looking forward to taking part in this year’s Race for Life at Herrington Country Park and the Midnight Walk for Grace House.

Anyone who is going through cancer who would like to contact Ann can do so at