Danniella's story

Danniella from Leeds talks about how two months ago lung cancer devastated her family

 “Colin was a brilliant step dad.  He came into our lives 24 years ago and was very kind and always wanted to help and please others.  He was very proud of us all;” said Danniella his 26 year old step daughter.

Despite 60 year old Colin quitting smoking 15 years ago the effects of smoking from the very early age of 14 years old had a devastating effect, taking his life within just three weeks of being diagnosed with lung cancer, leaving his partner and his 26 year old step daughter Danniella and her two sisters heartbroken by his traumatic and rapid decline.

“Colin started smoking cigarettes when he was 14 years old, basically a child, and then moved on to cigars.  He wasn’t allowed to smoke in the house but growing up I remember the smell of smoke.  I feel that starting from such a young age is what caused the damage to his lungs.” said Danniella.

A security guard at the time of his death, Colin lived in Carlton in Wakefield, worked hard all of his life and was looking forward to retiring. After visiting his GP in late February this year with a bad cough, he was given antibiotics to clear a chest infection and referred for a chest x-ray.  Later that week Colin suffered chest pains and was taken to hospital via ambulance with a suspected heart attack.  Test revealed his heart was fine but tests revealed he had lung cancer.   He was sent home, with the hospital beginning to look at potential treatments, however three weeks after his diagnosis Colin passed away in hospital surrounded by his heartbroken family.

Two months on from Colin’s passing Danniella, said: “It all happened so fast that it is only now that we are trying to come to terms with his death.  It is the little things that set you off, like not seeing his slippers in the hallway, after 24 years of them always being there. I also can't believe that Colin won't be at my wedding or meet my children when I eventually have them - but I will make sure they know all about him.”

Having experienced the death of a loved one from a smoking related cancer Danniella said: “I’d say not starting to smoke in the first place, especially if you are in your teens,  is the best thing that you could do for yourself and your family.  If you are a smoker then please attempt to quit, I know it is an addiction, but there is a lot of support out there.”

 “Lung cancer is a horrible disease, horrible for the one that has it but also horrible for the family to watch.  Your last memories are of someone you care about struggling to breath and gasping for air.  It is very traumatic and is something that will stick with me for the rest of my life.”