Former Loose Woman Denise Welch has opened up in an emotional video about the death of her beloved mother, Annie, five years ago from mouth cancer.
In the powerful video, filmed with Cancer Research UK, actress Denise spoke first of her mother’s winning personality, and just how much people loved her.
She said, “My mum had the ability to change the atmosphere in a room. People gravitated towards mum.
“They wanted to be with her, they wanted to talk to her. It made me proud.”
Annie was diagnosed with mouth cancer originally in 1991, and was given just 12 months to live. But remarkably, her mother went on to enjoy another 20 years. Denise explained, “She was originally diagnosed with cancer 20 years before she died.”
But in 2001, doctors found more tumours at a regular check-up.
Denise then spoke about the moment when she realised that, after so many years, her mother was actually dying, and how previously she’d probably been a little complacent about her death after so many years had past since the initial diagnosis.
“Even when it was really bad mum refused to admit she was in pain. Her mouth would be covered in ulcers but she never complained once. She was like that. Always putting her family first.
“I think I got a little complacent – we all did – because we had her for so long after her first diagnosis. I remember going to see her a few weeks before she left us and she looked like a different woman. It was then that it hit me that she didn’t have long left.”
And, talking about the day of her mother’s passing, Denise began to get emotional, describing the heartbreaking moment as actually “very peaceful”.
“She kept coming round, and my sister was there, the kids were all there, and we just really hugged her. And she just took her final breath and she was gone. But it was really quite beautiful in a way. It was such a close thing that we were all together.”
Emotional Denise also described how life has been since her mother’s death, saying, “The hardest thing about losing mum is just that she’s not at the end of the phone. She was always my go-to person, and I miss her every day.”
Denise also spoke of the incredibly close bond between her mother and the rest of her family, including her sons
She said, “Matthew and Louis had time on their own with her to say goodbye. They were incredibly close so needed that. She kind of went into a 24-hour-long sleep with moments of lucidity, so she was peaceful and knew we were all there – kids, grandkids, and our partners. After she died Matthew had her name tattooed on his chest, so he carries her everywhere with him.
“I was lucky to have the mum that I did and to have her until I was in my 50s, with someone who had lived with cancer for that length of time.
“I’m so grateful that we had all those years with her. She was diagnosed when Matthew was a toddler and she lived to see four more grandchildren. She also saw me overcome my problems with alcohol and met Lincoln, my husband, which means a huge amount to me. I’m so happy that when she passed she knew we were all OK.”
Following her experience with cancer, Denise is urging people to donate to Cancer Research UK in order to continue to fund the live-saving work they do.
She explained, “If it wasn’t for Cancer Research, I wouldn’t have had my mum for an extra 20 years, so that’s something I feel I’ve got to give back.”
But of course, research costs money, and to fund it, Cancer Research UK needs support and donations from the public.
To opt in to hear about all the work Cancer Research UK is doing, its research progress, appeals and ways people can support, visit cruk.org/justatick.
Cancer Research UK has also made a decision to only contact supporters who have given their permission for the charity to do so, which will come into force from 1 July 2017.