Anne and Linda Nolan: Our shared cancer experience has deepened our bond as sisters

The sisters talk about love, loss and their extraordinary life
Anne and Linda Nolan: Our shared cancer experience has deepened our bond as sisters

Linda and Anne Nolan on The Moments That Made Me, the Weekend podcast from the Irish Examiner

Cancer has been an unwelcome presence in the lives of The Nolans, who shot to fame with the 1980 hit, ‘I’m In The Mood For Dancing’.

For over 40 years Anne and Linda Nolan have performed as members of the group. Tragically, lead singer Bernie, their younger sister, died from breast cancer in 2013 aged 52 and last year, Anne and Linda revealed they were both diagnosed with cancer again.

Anne and Linda tell The Moments That Made Me, the Weekend Podcast from the Irish Examiner, about their diagnoses and taking on their cancers together. 

“The day Anne found out that about her cancer, I found out that I needed to have an MRI because they’d seen something on my liver,” Linda says.

They went for chemotherapy together “Linda arranged that,” Anne says. “She phoned up and said we’re sisters and we're both having chemotherapy at the same time. We’re going through a pandemic and can't have anybody with us at all and she asked if it was possible that we could have our chemotherapy together.” 

Linda says her late husband, Brian Hudson, was always struck by their family’s bond.

“My husband used to call us the cavalry. He said whenever anything happens, good or bad, you all come from different corners and you form this wall around you and you get through it with humor.” 

After losing her husband to skin cancer in 2007, Linda says she still struggles but credits therapy with helping her through her grief.

“You shut the door and you slide down the wall and think, I can’t do this anymore. I would sit up in bed and feel rubbish and if Brian had been he’d be rubbing my back saying it's okay. Then of course I start missing him all over again, and it brings back that kind of loneliness.

“Therapy saved my life. I started seeing a counselor after Brian died. I was diagnosed with complex grief and at one point because I was suicidal, I was with the local mental health crisis team."

Anne and Linda's new memoir, Stronger Together, tells their story of dealing with cancer together.

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