Lauren recently got married and moved into a new home. But instead of sharing these landmark life moments with her dad, she is left with just memories and pictures of her beloved dad, paramedic Ian Pratt, who died from bowel cancer in 2010 aged just 54. Ian was a lifelong smoker but worried so much about his son and daughters’ smoking that he pleaded with them to quit before he died.
“It was a total shock when dad was first diagnosed. The doctors initially thought it was treatable and they were discussing lots of different options. He wasn’t the healthiest person, he smoked cigars like they were cigarettes, but he wasn’t unfit, he had an active lifestyle and ate really well.
“A matter of weeks after his diagnosis the cancer went from being treatable to terminal – it was like being kicked in the stomach.
“You never get over losing someone you love, especially so young. I smoked, but I saw what happened to my dad. He was so desperate that none of the children he loved ended up like him, in a hospital bed at 54. We all made him a promise that we intend to keep.
“As a daughter who lost her dad, I would urge any parents who smoke to quit. You run the risk of leaving your children halfway through their journey and missing out on life-changing events like marriage, new homes and grandchildren. It’s really not worth it.”