Belfast Telegraph

Loss of gran spurs Eamonn Holmes on in highlighting breast cancer

Eamonn Holmes and his mother Josie
Eamonn Holmes and his mother Josie

By David O'Dornan

Broadcaster Eamonn Holmes has revealed he is still affected by the loss of his grandmother to cancer when he was a child.

The Belfast-born presenter said he continues to miss his loved one but believes she looks after him - and suffering the loss has strengthened his resolve to raise awareness about the disease.

He said: "When I was four years of age I lost my mother's mother, my granny Fitzsimmons. Breast cancer claimed her life.

"Outside of my mum, she was the person I was most close to.

"I can remember her look, her smell, her stories and her final days in her hospital bed.

"Although I still miss her, I believe she is by my side and still looks after me.

"I don't want to lose anyone else I'm close to in that way again."

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and dad-of-four Eamonn has been using his public profile to encourage men and women to get any health concerns checked out.

He revealed that last week his wife and on-screen co-star Ruth Langsford went for a check-up and they were both relieved when she got the all-clear.

Eamonn (59) said: "The fear for women and, therefore, any of us who have a woman in our lives - whether a child, a sister, a mother, an aunt, a grandmother, a cousin, a friend or a work colleague - is obviously much more heightened.

Eamonn Holmes as a child with his grandmother
Eamonn Holmes as a child with his grandmother

"Last week Ruth went for her scheduled breast screening. I'm glad she does it. But, of course, I'm worried until that all-clear letter comes through the door. And, thankfully, it did.

"I could see she was worried as well, and anyone who faces that five minutes or so of discomfort probably feels the same. But it is so the right thing to do because early detection is the key."

Breast cancer is the UK's most common form of the disease, with more than 55,000 new cases a year.

Eamonn urged: "If you find anything unusual, go for a medical check-up. It might save your life."

Writing for Best magazine, Eamonn said that cancer is "everyone's enemy" and encouraged men to also get checked out, revealing that he has had his prostate examined.

He said: "If breast cancer is, by and large, a female affliction, then one of the cancers the man in your life should be on the lookout for is the cancer of the prostate."

He added: "I suppose what I'm saying is, whether you're a woman or a man, cancer is something that unites us because it's everyone's enemy. Together, we can help get the better of it."

Meanwhile, Eamonn yesterday marked International Day of Older People by sharing a video of himself with his 90-year-old mum Josie.

She spoke about how hard it is for the elderly to cope with loneliness, something she has had to deal with for nearly 30 years since the death of her husband Leonard.

She said: "I don't think you could get anybody to understand it, it would have to happen to yourself. That's what's wrong with me actually today, I think I miss my own children, the home the way it used to be, now it's an empty house.

"I don't like television but I have to put that on to make a noise, as if someone else is in the house along with me.

"That is my worst thing.

"I could sit here at night and cry, really.

"My husband is dead 28 years, and I just see him as he was, everything about it, that's the worst thing that's ever happened to me."

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