Ann's Story
On Her Mother

I lost my mother, Celia Houston, to lung cancer in 2000. She was a mother, grandmother and school teacher in Charlotte, who had already survived an oral cancer.  At 61, she had a lot more to do in this life. 

 It took a great sense of humor to teach middle school, but it was work my mother was made for. She loved 12-14-year-olds – the way they could be cuddly, timid and childlike one minute, and then very bold and “grown-up” the next. She lived to teach English, and loved reading all those essays, book reviews and reports, and watching her students blossom from exposure to great literature and learning how to write. She taught William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and showed her classes the 1969 film (my favorite) – always fast-forwarding through the “naughty” parts.

 Born in Pender County, she grew up in Matthews, graduated from East Mecklenburg High School and Queens College, married a local boy and raised me and my brother. Her parents were both teachers in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.
 It makes me so sad that she didn’t get to see her grandchildren grow up, and didn’t see me get married in 2006. I hope she knows how happy I am, but also how much I miss having my mother around. 
 She didn’t live long after her diagnosis, having been so weakened by her earlier cancer fight. 
 I have to believe that she is thrilled I am trying to draw attention and raise funds for lung cancer prevention and treatment. It’s so important for saving lives in the future.
- Ann Houston Staples



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