As Davina McCall gears up to present live telethon Stand Up To Cancer, she has shared her own family battles with the disease
Stand Up To Cancer presenter Davina McCall has opened up about the horrific experience of losing her half-sister, Caroline Baday, to lung cancer two years ago.
‘Before my sister, I hadn’t really been touched by cancer at all. Now I feel like it’s everywhere,’ says the 46-year-old presenter. ‘I miss Caroline so much… She’s left a gaping chasm. It took a while to smile again.’
When Caroline, 50, passed away just seven weeks after her diagnosis, Davina sat by her side holding her hand:
‘I heard her breathing getting shallower. Matthew [Robinson, her husband] held one hand and I held the other. Caroline’s iPod had been on all day and a really lovely, sad Nina Simone song came on. I was talking to Caroline, telling her not to go too far away and not to worry about us. I thought it was going to be a violent awful end but she just slipped away and it was so peaceful.’
Davina described the moment as the ‘saddest’ yet ‘most peaceful’ thing she has ever experienced.
Later that day, Davina wrote on Twitter:
‘My beautiful brave sister Caroline (@madfroggy) lost her fight against cancer today. My heart hurts so much.’
Davina admitted that the loss has affected the way she considers her own health:
‘I get check-ups every year because after Caroline died, any time I got a headache or anything I thought, “Oh gosh, am I okay?” because it happened so quickly with Caroline. She was the queen of not getting checked so I’m fastidious about it.’
Stand Up To Cancer, which Davina will host tonight, will raise money for cancer research to try and prevent more losses from the disease.
She said: ‘I love Stand Up To Cancer because research is so close to revolutionising the entire way that cancer is treated in this country. The scientists in this country are some of the best in the world. Things are being discovered every year that are making huge differences to children’s and adults’ lives. Even since my sister died, they’ve found a new way of treating lung cancer, which can revolutionise survival rates.
‘One in three of us will get cancer and that’s a shocking statistic. Everybody I know has been touched by the disease – everybody. So it is one of those nights that will revolutionise the whole country.’
Tune into Channel 4 at 7pm.