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Armagh woman with incurable cancer stranded in Lanzarote amid coronavirus lockdown

Carol and Stuart McCammon
Carol and Stuart McCammon in their hotel room in Lanzarote

An Armagh woman with incurable cancer, who has been left stranded with her husband in Lanzarote, after Easyjet cancelled their flight back home to Belfast, says all she wants to do “go home to my kids”.

Carol McCammon and her husband Stuart were due to travel to the airport on Saturday evening, only to discover it had been cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak sweeping across Europe.

The Spanish government severely limited all travel across Spain from midnight last night (Saturday), with the country going into effective lockdown.

The 48-year-old, who is due in hospital on Tuesday morning to undergo another bout of chemotherapy is beside herself with fear.

The couple have been travelling to the Canary Islands without their three children for a week at the start of March for the past five years.

Carol was diagnosed with the incurable cancer just over six years ago, and says it’s a break for them each year – in what tends to be one of her good weeks.

“Just four hours before take off our flights were cancelled and now we’re struck In Lanzarote with no flight and no contact with the airline,” Carol told Armagh I from her makeshift hotel room on Sunday morning.

“We found out our flight was cancelled by tracking it online, not through the airline; we had to go on their app which took forever and all we got was a form to fill out for a hotel for the night – we still don’t know anything.”

Carol said the holiday to Costa Teguise had been booked well in advance of the outbreak and they travelled when all seemed clear, however, things escalated quickly across the continent.

“Don’t get me wrong, an extra couple of weeks abroad would sound good to a normal, healthy couple but I’ve got incurable cancer, which I have been fighting the 6-7 years and my husband has asthma.

“My mother-in-law is looking after our son and twin daughter, which she does wonderfully for us every year . I just don’t understand how EasyJet cannot gave us any information on what is going on; they can’t even answer their phones or emails.

“All I want is to go home to my kids,” she added. “I can’t even talk to my children in case I cry in front of them, so I’m sticking to texts for now; I just pray that I can see their faces again.

“I always knew cancer would take me and I have accepted that, but not this…”

Carol says it’s a similar situation for so many others like her and Stuart, desperate to return home to the UK.

“There are a lot of people staying in the airport trying to get flights home; at the minute the information is limited but it could change by the hour.

“There are a lot of groups being split up to different hotels and as you can imagine there are a lot of upset people. I think we need all the help we can get at this stage.”

Carol said the only option for them today, is to wait it out in limbo at the airport.

The couple are hopeful something can be done sooner, rather than later, but with Carol’s health a priority, anxiety levels are understandably high.

“I’ve been getting chemotherapy for the last six years,” she explained. “Every year, this is my good week which is why we come out to Lanzarote.

“It’s just enough of a break for couple of days. At the minute I have strong painkillers and anti-sickness tablets but hopefully I won’t need them.”

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