A MUM-of-four who appeared on harrowing documentary My Last Summer is still smashing the odds – five years after doctors predicted she would die.
Lou Street was given just two-and-a-half years to live after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease aged 36 in 2010.
She was hit with the bombshell two days before Christmas – and less than a year after the death of her brother Ashley, 31, in a motorbike accident.
Terminally ill Lou is the last survivor of a Channel 4 documentary which captured the nation’s hearts in May 2014.
The former floor fitter appeared alongside four other terminally ill patients – aged 38 to 58 – on My Last Summer who have since tragically passed away.
Lou, 43, has been left heartbroken after losing her “soulmates”, whose photographs are framed on the wall of her family home in a poignant tribute.
Lou, of Istead Rise, near Gravesend, Kent, told the Sun Online: “We went into that beautiful house as strangers but came out as a family.
“When someone is told they are dying you are alone and it doesn’t matter how many people say ‘I’m really sorry’ – they don’t know.
"You get fed up with people feeling sorry for you.
“But from day one in the house we had similar experiences.
"We had planned our funerals and done our wills.
“It’s very lonely without them because they understood what I was going through.”
Prostate cancer sufferer Earl Junior McDonald, 49, was the first housemate from My Last Summer to pass away, in December 2012.
Jayne Pritchard-Jones, 58, died of breast cancer in July 2013 and Ben Leggett, also 58, fell victim to lung cancer three months later.
Lou was sat at Andy Priest’s bedside as he passed away on his 47th birthday in October 2015 after a gruelling battle with lung disease.
She recalls how she was left furious after being approached at Andy’s funeral and asked how she felt to be the “last member standing”.
She said: “I wanted to punch him on the nose.
“It’s not a game or a bet. It’s not fun. He asked with a smile and I don't know why.
"I’ve lost my friends that actually knew the ins and outs of what’s going on more than my family.
“I don’t feel proud, I wish I wasn’t the last one because it hurts watching all your friends die but I’m glad I’m here."
Lou said telling her kids Mimi, 10, Ria, 13, Danny, 21, and Jade, 26, was the most heartbreaking aspect of her diagnosis.
She recalled: “Ria stood there and said ‘are you going to die?’
“She ran to the toilet and threw up. It was heartwrenching.”
Lou admits she cried for six months as she struggled to come to terms with her diagnosis.
But she bounced back thanks to the support of her children, husband John, 56, and friends to leave doctors baffled.
And she says the key to her prolonged life is her positive outlook on life.
Lou added: “My consultant said ‘whatever you’re doing, carry on doing it’.
“At the start I wasn’t positive at all.
“I was told I was going to die and I was waiting for it.
“The way I see it is that MND lives with me and I don’t live with it. It does what I want to do.”
She believes she has discovered a new lease of life – jetting out to Tenerife last month for a girls holiday and has planned a further two trips abroad this summer.
Lou said: “Not until you’re told you’re dying do you actually live.
What is motor neurone disease?
Motor neurone disease is a rare condition.
About two in every 100,000 Brits develop it each year.
It affects specialist nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing the function of motor neurons to break down.
When this neurodegeneration occurs, everyday activities become increasingly difficult or completely impossible.
Over time, the condition progressively worsens as the muscle weakens and can visibly waste.
The majority of those diagnosed with the disease are given a three-year life expectancy starting from when they first notice the symptoms.
Remarkably, physics genius Stephen Hawking, 75, has battled motor neurone disease since he was 21-years-old.
“Before my diagnosis I was living to pay bills, to get the kids to school on time, making sure their hair is brushed.
“Now we go to the cinema a lot more, have parties and a BBQ in the summer.
“I’ve gone up in a hot air balloon – and I’m scared of heights.
“It does give you that kick up the arse you need.”
Lou admits she initially wanted to check-in to a Swiss clinic to end her life after Googling her symptoms for the muscle wasting condition.
But she fears her family members would be arrested on return to the UK.
In 2015 Lou teamed up with Andy’s wife Annette to launch a campaign to legalise assisted suicide – saying: “I don’t want to die in nappies”.
She hopes to relaunch the crusade, adding: “There’s got to be a way where you can die more peacefully and with dignity.
“Nurse’s in hospices have to go through it as well. I’ve seen them coming out crying. They’d love to help but they can’t.”
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Lou, who struggles to walk unaided and has lost two stone in the past two months, urged terminally ill people to join a hospice to meet other people in a similar situation.
She said: “Hospice’s are fun.
“We laugh and joke and you should look at a hospice not just because of the day therapy.
“We need more places like that.”
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