MAUREEN Nolan has stepped in to replace her sister Linda in a musical after she was forced to step down due to her battle with cancer.
Linda’s older brother, 67, has plenty of stage experience and will now lead the Girls Just Wanna Have Fun line-up.
Maureen told the Mirror: ‘I wish the circumstances were different but I’m delighted to be joining this fabulous and fun production.
“I can’t wait to get on the road and perform in front of a live audience. It’s been way too long!”
Linda, who has incurable pelvic and liver cancer, was due to make the theater tour last year, but the coronavirus pandemic put it on hold.
The feel-good show will now start in Telford in September and Linda is supporting her sister to make it a resounding success.
She said, “I’m disgusted that I can’t do the tour. I was really excited but I know Maureen will do an amazing job.
“If someone is going to take my place, I’m glad it’s Maureen. I’m going to cheer him on backstage and dance in the aisles!
Linda discovered her cancer had spread to her liver last April at the same time her sister Anne, 70, was also diagnosed.
She recently opened up about the devastating moment she learned of the spread – saying her heart “literally skipped a beat”.
In her book Stronger Together: How We’re Living While Fighting, she wrote: “Things really got crazy. Just as I was accepting the devastating news from Anne, 30 minutes later, my doctor’s secretary from Blackpool Victoria Hospital called me.
“With my cancer metastasizing (spreading) into my hip three years ago, I received quarterly scans from my chest down to my pelvis.
“I was told, ‘Mr Danwata saw something on your CT scan of your liver.’
“If my heart was ever nervous, it literally skipped a beat on that call. I couldn’t tell my family when we were faced with Anne’s diagnosis.”
The sisters discovered the return of their cancer after filming The Nolans Go Cruising last spring.
Anne has since been given the green light.
Linda was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006 and was treated by the same diligent consultants who fought to treat her 15 years ago.
She added: “I first met Mr Danwata when he was a clerk in 2006 under Dr Susnerwala who treated my cancer for the first time.
“We patients all love him because he explains everything very clearly.
“I got straight to the point. ‘Secretary says you saw something on the scanner?’
“‘Well, the MRI proved it was cancer,’ he said. ‘It’s secondary. It’s spread from your breast to your hip, but now there’s also cancer in your liver.'”
Linda said the doctor told her exactly what she didn’t want to hear – that she would have to have chemo for the rest of her life.
She continued: “I cried, without looking up.
“I could feel the anger rising inside me.”
Linda was told she would need palliative chemo which would give her more time, but fear struck her as she imagined dying before she saw her children, nieces, nephews and grandchildren grow up.
She said it was then her turn to shock her doctor, who was unaware that her sister was also undergoing chemo.
The star continued: “Mr Danwata did his Mr Positive spiel and when he finished speaking I said to him, ‘My sister Anne is going through this at the same time – she now has her first chemo session.
“His eyes went wide and he said, ‘Oh boy, that’s hard. “Well,” I said, doing my classic trying to shed some light on the situation, “Maybe we could have our chemo together.”
“To my amazement, he said, ‘I’m going to talk to your sister’s consultant.'”