Hastings mum battling cancer is honoured in new book by close friend

Ann Sandeman, pictured in the back row third from right, during the Moonwalk fundraiser in London in May
Ann Sandeman, pictured in the back row third from right, during the Moonwalk fundraiser in London in May

A book has been dedicated to a mother-of-three, who has been battling cancer for almost a decade.

Ann Sandeman, 45, who lives in Hastings, will feature in Lizzie’s Christmas Escape, written by Christie Barlow.

The dedication comes after her friends were successful in a recent auction for Clic Sargent, a children’s cancer charity, which offered people the opportunity to place a bid to get their name featured in Christie’s book.

Ann said she was delighted and touched by the support from her friends, adding it was a ‘wonderful gesture’, thanking them for their ‘love and inspiration’.

She said: “I’m immensely honoured and hugely humbled.”

This year, Ann has had to undergo major surgery in hospital in London.

The mother-of-three was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007. She took part in Race for Life in Alexandra Park, unaware that she had cancer or that she was pregnant with her son, Ben.

Ann took the brave decision to go ahead with chemotherapy treatment during her pregnancy and her son, now aged eight, was born fit and well.

However, in 2010 there was another devastating blow. The cancer returned with a vengeance in her chest cavity. A tumour had developed in the cavity between her lungs and wrapped itself around the blood vessels of her heart.

Though extremely painful, Ann’s cancer is treatable.

Ann added: “I have not got time to die. My children are my reason to stay alive.”

Thanks to ongoing treatment, which has included seven courses of chemotherapy treatment, five courses of radiotherapy and six surgeries, Ann, who is also mum to daughters Hannah, 12, and Emma, 10, continues to battle the disease.

In the last few years, Ann has gone on to organise, take part in and support scores of Cancer Research UK (CRUK) events including Race for Life, Relay for Life, Busking Cancer, barbecue for CRUK, as well as organising balls and other events.

Last year, Ann scooped the Ambassador of the Year accolade in the CRUK’s annual Flame of Hope Awards given for remarkable efforts in fundraising and volunteering.

She was presented with the award by the charity’s chairman, Michael Pragnell.

Among those Ann met at the awards was former Southampton footballer Frances Benali, who was joint winner of the Fundraising Volunteer of the Year.

Ann said: “I’m so incredibly grateful for the support CRUK and Macmillan have given me. Without it, I wouldn’t be alive today.”

As well as fundraising for Clic Sargent, Ann’s friends took part in a fundraising walk for Breast Cancer Research after being asked by Ann’s friend Sharon Pillinger.

In May they underwent a Moonwalk across London, walking more than 26 miles during the night and raising more than £9,000.

The group of friends called themselves Annie’s Amigos. Among them was Christie.

Another close friend, Sarah Luff, said: “Ann has fought cancer for almost a decade now and has inspired so many along the way to keep fighting. She has raised thousands and really made a difference, offering hope to many. She is not only an inspiration to those fighting cancer, but an incredible example to her three gorgeous children.”

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