22.10.2021

Torquay father who has never smoked battles lung cancer

A father-of-one who has never smoked is battling terminal lung cancer as his friends rush to support his devastated family.

Zak Gleeson, 33, from Torquay, received the shock diagnosis after his partner Lois urged him to go the the doctor about a pain in his neck.

He has just started a two-month course of chemotherapy, but has told medics he doesn’t want to know how long he has left.  

Speaking from hospital in Devon on Friday, Lois told MailOnline how she had been due to start a new job at Mothercare on the day Zak was rushed to hospital.

Zak Gleeson, 33, from Torquay (pictured with partner Lois and daughter Layla-Mae) discovered he has terminal lung cancer after noticing a pain in his neck

Zak Gleeson, 33, from Torquay (pictured with partner Lois and daughter Layla-Mae) discovered he has terminal lung cancer after noticing a pain in his neck

Zak, a kitchen and bathroom fitter who is now too ill to work, is also a doting father to Layla-Mae, who celebrated her first birthday just last month.

The gym fanatic has never smoked, and has always lived healthily, eating well and playing football every week.

His partner today told of her shock when, after further tests, cancer cells were found in Zak’s lungs and bones.

Zak’s childhood friend Dave Kendall has now set up a crowdfunding campaign to support his family on JustGiving, where donors quickly raised £20,000.

Donations have poured in from friends, family, and people who had read about Zak, Lois, and their young daughter Layla-Mae on social media. 

What are the causes of lung cancer? 

. Smoking Smoking cigarettes accounts for around 85 per cent of lung cancer cases, according to the NHS.

· Second-hand smoke Passive smokers are are 25 per cent more likely to develop lung cancer than a non-smoking woman living with a non-smoking partner. 

· Air pollution Indoor and outdoor air pollution contribute to 7.8 per cent of lung cancer cases in UK. The solid particles responsible for this are known as PM2.5.

· Workplace exposure to carcinogens like asbestos and diesel exhaust can cause lung cancer.

· Natural radioactive gas Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that comes from uranium found in all rocks and soils. If inhaled, it can damage lungs – and even more so if you are a smoker. This is responsible of 3 per cent of all lung cancer deaths in England. 

Close bond: The kitchen and bathroom fitter, who is now too ill to work, is a doting father to Layla-Mae, who celebrated her first birthday just last month

Close bond: The kitchen and bathroom fitter, who is now too ill to work, is a doting father to Layla-Mae, who celebrated her first birthday just last month

Lois told MailOnline she was due to start a new job at Mothercare on the day Zak was rushed to hospital. Zak never smoked, and has always lived healthily, playing football every week

Lois told MailOnline she was due to start a new job at Mothercare on the day Zak was rushed to hospital. Zak never smoked, and has always lived healthily, playing football every week

Dave said: ‘Zak is a cherished son and brother, adored daddy, loving partner and the best friend anyone could ever wish for. He is simply loved by all.

‘Zak has been in hospital for the last week fighting immense pain and horrendous sickness, never moaning or complaining. Zak is far too ill to ever return to work and resume his ordinary life he once had.

‘In more recent years Zak met and fell in love with Lois. A devoted daddy and committed partner, Zak ‘s goal was to set up family life, he started working with Lois’ dad. A love story shattered, a family torn and an innocent little girl robbed of her daddy.’

Support: Zak's childhood friend Dave Kendall has now set up a crowdfunding campaign to support his family on JustGiving , where donors quickly raised £20,000

Support: Zak’s childhood friend Dave Kendall has now set up a crowdfunding campaign to support his family on JustGiving , where donors quickly raised £20,000

Zak's friend Dave said: A devoted daddy and committed partner, Zak 's goal was to set up family life, he started working with Lois' dad. A love story shattered, a family torn and an innocent little girl robbed of her daddy'

Zak’s friend Dave said: A devoted daddy and committed partner, Zak ‘s goal was to set up family life, he started working with Lois’ dad. A love story shattered, a family torn and an innocent little girl robbed of her daddy’

A boxing event has also been organised to add to the fundraising effort for the family at the Foundry in Torquay on November 25.

Donors left messages of support on the JustGiving page. One wrote: ‘All my love is being sent to you Lois & Zak and all the family! Stay strong and we will 100% raise all this money for you.’

Another wrote: ‘Such a tragic and heart-breaking situation. No child should be left without a parent.’ Another donor said: ‘So very very sad. Sometimes life is so cruel. Stay strong.’

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