Invincible great-grandmother survives cancer FIVE times to celebrate 100th birthdayBy Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 6:27 PM on 20th January 2011
- Ms McDonald had both her breasts and gall bladder removed
- 'I'm a fighter', she tells priest giving her Last Rites in 1963
100 years young: Mrs McDonald said she felt good for her age
Ellen McDonald is still going strong despite enduring several operations - including one in 1963 where a priest was called as doctors thought she wouldn't survive.
The feisty great-grandmother from Leeds was born in 1911, the same year as the coronation of King George V and when the first motor car was made in the UK.
Her health issues began when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in the early 1950s and she had to have a double mastectomy.
She was diagnosed with cancer of the gall bladder a few years later - but she beat the disease by having her gall bladder removed as well as a further operation after the cancer spread.
In 1963, Mrs McDonald was diagnosed with cancer of the bowel and after the operation to remove the tumour it was thought that she wouldn't survive.
Mrs McDonald said: 'I've had it tough with the old cancer, five times it has tried to take me in total but I've managed to fight it off.
'Ive had a double mastectomy, a hysterectomy from my fifth bout, I've had my gall bladder removed and I survived bowel cancer.
'After one operation I woke and the surgeon told me that the operation was over but wasn't sure if I would pull through because those procedures weren't as common back then.
'I can remember a priest was in the room standing over me and he was reading passages from the Bible and there was somebody else there who was crying.
'But I told them I am a fighter and I managed to pull through. I made it through because of my fighting spirit and the skill of the surgeons who performed the operations to remove the areas where the cancer had struck.
'I scrubbed floors on my hands and knees for a shilling an hour for 26 years, hard work keeps you going I think.'
'Chemotherapy has obviously kept it at bay as well. But apart from those scares half-a-century ago I am in good health.'
The former war-time crane driver lives in sheltered accommodation now after losing her husband Jim 18 years ago.
She keeps active and regularly attends an over-55s club and says that it is plain old hard work that has kept her going plus the occasional glass of wine.
EnlargeShe said: 'My advice for a longer life would be to work hard to keep your body active. I scrubbed floors on my hands and knees for a shilling an hour for 26 years, hard work keeps you going I think.
Memories: Mrs McDonald on her wedding day to her husband Jim on 2 September, 1933. Jim died 18 years ago weeks before their diamond anniversary
'I still do a bit of shopping and like to get out. I do the dusting, I look after my own meals and do the washing up at the sink. I have a bit of help with the heavy stuff though.
'It is nice to live this long but to be honest the spring in my step went a couple of years ago. I think when I was about 96 I felt different but I still feel good for my age.
'I don't think there is a secret to a long life its just fate, but I know more and more people are living to 100. My cousin is 107.'
The centenarian spent most of her working life working at Leeds infirmary where she worked as a supervisor.
She said: 'I was scrubbing floors and steps, no mops, no vacuum cleaners - just elbow grease.'
Mrs McDonald married husband Jim in 1933 and they spent a happy life together raising their five sons and became great-grandparents of six and grandparents of eight.
Sadly Jim died just three weeks before the couple could celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary.
She said: 'I only have three sons left, Gerard, Adrian and Laurie. Poor Laurie has diabetes and has had to have two of his legs removed.'
Her son Adrian, 54 added: 'My mum is great for her age and she is in good health apart from the cancer scares .'
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1349026/Great-grandmother-Ellen-McDonald-survives-cancer-FIVE-times-celebrates-100th-birthday.html#ixzz1BcKNdCdu