Road trip to celebrate the beating of cancer

p4 pic'Bob and Louise McCann with banger they are driving for a charity rally
p4 pic'Bob and Louise McCann with banger they are driving for a charity rally

A FATHER and daughter - both Sheffield councillors - are preparing to drive across Europe in an old banger next month to raise money to mark the 21st anniversary of a successful battle with cancer.

Lorraine McCann - wife of Bob and mother of Louise - was diagnosed with leukaemia in September 1990 at the age of 39, and was given a 20% chance of survival.

She defied the odds and has just celebrated her 60th birthday.

At the time, Bob gave up his job to look after Louise, who was then seven, and to be with his wife, who received chemotherapy in the Royal Hallamshire Hospital

Practical and emotional help was provided by the charity, Leukaemia Care, which is the focus of Bob and Louise’s fundraising efforts in the Screwball Rally, which sees teams driving old cars to five different points around Europe on a circular route from Calais.

Bob, aged 63, Lib Dem councillor for Graves Park, said: “It’s 21 years since Lorraine went into remission and we are so grateful for how the charity helped us through.

“We want to do our bit so it can assist other families in the same position.”

He will be in an N-reg Rover 620 alongside Louise, a Lib Dem councillor for Beauchief and Greenhill, who works as a radiographer. The rally is organised by Barnsley-based J & M Events.

Former mechanic Bob said: “We set off for Calais on September 14, then the rally begins the following day and will take five days.

“We have to drive to Mannheim, in Germany, then Pilsner, in the Czech Republic, back to Hannover, Amsterdam and Calais.

“The route between each of the places is up to us so we can see some of the sights on the way.”

Lorraine, who was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia, said: “I was diagnosed on September 7, 1990 and began treatment on Louise’s seventh birthday, September 12.”

She said she was ‘devastated’ to hear she was suffering leukaemia.

She said: “I was told I had only a 20% chance of survival - and of about 10 of us diagnosed at the same time, eight died. The ninth died a few years later.

“I was in hospital until the following spring, but had to keep going back first weekly, then monthly, then annually, until about three years ago to make sure I was still clear.

“It was Bob and Louise who kept me going. We had been trying for a few years for a baby before Louise was born and I wasn’t going to give up that easily.”

But Lorraine, who has been married to Bob for 35 years, added: “It was easier for me as a patient than for Bob because he had to look after Louise and my mother, who was 81, with Alzheimer’s disease.”

Bob said: “The help we were given from Leukaemia Care was very important in allowing us to cope.”

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