WHEN Ann Cluderay was diagnosed with an ultra-rare form of cancer in 1999, doctors gave her only weeks to live.
The York school teacher thought she would never see her daughters marry or get to cuddle any grandchildren, and she prepared to say goodbye.
But her daughters, Laura and Ruth, told today how she defied the medics by going on to live for another 13 years, with an inoperable growth the size of a grapefruit apparently lying dormant inside her chest.
The former Knavesmire and Lowfield schools English teacher was there at St Paul’s Church in Holgate in 2002 when Ruth married Ben, and again the following year when Laura married Mark.
More recently, she got to know four grandchildren – Laura’s children George and Willow and Ruth’s pair, Stanley and Bill.
Mrs Cluderay, of Holgate, also got to see the world over the 13 years through a series of holidays, including a 102-day world cruise.
Earlier this autumn, tests showed her cancer, known as melanotic schwannoma, had finally spread throughout her body, and now she died at St Leonard’s Hospice after several weeks of “fantastic” care, aged 60.
Laura and Ruth said that after a private funeral service, the family had decided to stage a thanksgiving service at St Paul’s at 11am next Wednesday, which will be conducted by family friend, the Rev Matthew Woodcock, at which the congregation have been asked to wear bright-coloured clothing.
Ruth said they were grateful for the extra years of life their mother had been able to live. “The growth was wrapped around her gullet and it wasn’t possible to operate on it, and so the doctors said she would only have weeks to live,” she said.
“I remember thinking on Millennium Eve that my mum wouldn’t survive the following year, but it never happened. She just got better and better.
“She went back to St James’ in Leeds for check-ups each year and she was always OK, and she was discharged last year. We almost forgot about it.
“She never complained about it. The only thing she did complain about was having to give up teaching, because her voice was affected during treatment back in 1999. She loved teaching.”
She said doctors had never known such a cancer develop in that part of someone’s body, and her mother’s case had been reported on in medical journals.