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Welling mum overcomes personal tragedy to dance with Steps in Crayford
A Steps fan beat her own personal tragedy - undergoing a double lung transplant - to take part in a dance-a-thon with her daughter and the reunited band.
Janice Campbell, 62, was diagnosed with emphysema and fell so ill she became imprisoned by the disease, couldn’t breathe unaided or leave the house.
After waiting almost 30 years for a suitable donor, the mum from Welling finally got her new lungs – and a new lease of life – in 2010.
And on Wednesday (October 31), she miraculously joined her daughter Tina in Crayford to help set a new world record for the number of people dancing to Steps’ hit song Tragedy.
The day was particularly special to the mother and daughter duo because Steps was the first concert Janice took Tina to see.
Janice, who used to smoke 20 cigarettes a day, told News Shopper: “I was a smoker and at 37 I was told I had emphysema.
“It went downhill from there – it was just 30 years of not living.
“It was hell.
“I was watching people living their lives but not able to live myself.
“There was a time a couple of Christmases ago when my body started rejecting the lungs and I thought that was the end.
“But now I’ve woken up, I’m back from the dead and it’s a miracle I’m here.
“Steps look amazing – they haven’t changed.
“It’s made me feel my age to see them again.”
Pop sensation Steps were joined by hundreds of fans in Sainsbury’s, and teamed with gig-goers who danced to Tragedy during their recent tour, the band surpassed their target total of 180,000 people doing the iconic routine with them.
Janice’s daughter Tina, who was only two when her mum was diagnosed with the disease, said: “I’m so proud of my mum.
“She does Zumba every day and I saw her running for the bus the other day.
“I’ve never seen my mum run.
“All of her side of the family smoked and we eventually lost them all to smoking-related cancer.
“By the time I was eight or nine, mum needed a ventilator, and 10 years later was on oxygen 24 hours a day and could barely leave the house - she actually got on a train for the very first time in about 15 years this January.
“It was her idea to come here today (Wednesday).
“My mum is just full of surprises.”
Following the dance-a-thon to celebrate the release of the band’s DVD, Steps: The Ultimate Tour Live, Ian Watkins (aka H), Claire Richards, Lisa Scott-Lee, Faye Tozer and Lee Latchford-Evans signed copies for fans, including Janice.
Tina added: “Mum told them about her transplant and they couldn’t believe it.
“They said it was a miracle.
“Faye said “Wow, that’s amazing, really, really amazing.”
“H said mum looked really well and loved her glittery top, and Lee said “You should be really proud of your mum because we all are.”
Janice hopes her story will encourage smokers to give up the habit.
She said: “I’m so grateful to my donor.
“Everyone should carry a donor card and do something good when they die.”
And Tina warned: “Smoking is a disgusting habit, it makes you smell, turns your fingers and teeth yellow, ages your skin and more importantly, it kills and destroys other people’s lives - don't smoke.”
STEPS CHAT TO NEWS SHOPPER ABOUT REUNITING
Sitting amongst the ultra glam members of Steps for a chat, memories of my teenage obsession came flooding back.
Surreal as it was, H, Lee, Faye (who looked too stunning for words), Claire and Lisa were incredibly down to earth, friendly and wonderfully giggly.
Talking to me about their new DVD, Steps: The Ultimate Tour Live, and upcoming tour, the group was clearly thrilled to be back on the road together and touched by the hundreds of fans who turned up at Sainsbury’s in Crayford.
Claire Richards said: “It’s quite amazing – quite incredible actually.
“It’s been such a long time since we were together and the tour did so well.
“It’s amazing people still want to dance to Tragedy.”
Asked why she thought fans are still champing at the bit to come and see Steps, Claire added: “Because we’re amazing.
“Even though we’ve been on tour and reunited, this is the first signing we’ve done since we got back together.”
And Faye added: “I think it’s great people can dance with us in the flesh.
“During the ultimate tour (featured on the DVD), we danced harder than ever before.
“Lots of people didn’t manage to get tickets and now they can see it on Blu-ray and DVD.
“Those who were there can relive the experience.”
Steps broke up in 2001 and reunited in May 2011 for a TV documentary before deciding to embark on a nationwide tour.
Lee said: “It feels good to be back together – like we’ve never been apart.
“It’s like 10 years never went by.”
For more information, and to order the DVD, visit stepsofficial.co.uk