FOR most families big birthdays are a joyful occasion, but for one Pembroke Dock family there was cause for big celebrations earlier this month (January).

Father and daughter, Jonathan and Lauren George, marked their 50th and 18th birthdays together on January 2.

Not only do they share the same birthday, but Jonathan and Lauren have both survived cancer, making their shared milestone birthdays a day to remember and their big day culminated in a party for 180 guests at the Cleddau Bridge Hotel.

“When Lauren was born it was funny because Tracy said she was going to have her on my birthday and that when I was 50 Lauren would be 18,” Jonathan said, explaining that they had always intended to have a big party when the time came.

“Back then we obviously didn’t know that both of us would end up going through cancer,” added Jonathan.

“After what we’ve been through, we just thought why not? We’re never going to have a big birthday on the same day again.”

Mum Tracy added: “Jonathan’s 40th birthday was also his last day of radiotherapy, so we came together as a family but we didn’t have a big party like this.”

Pembroke School sixth form student Lauren is also an ambassador for Cancer Research UK and teenage cancer charity the JLS Foundation.

Just before Christmas, she was asked to spend the afternoon with JLS ahead of their last ever concert at the O2 Arena, London. A singer songwriter herself, Lauren got to stand on stage with the band and could not believe the size of the venue.

She was just nine-years-old when she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in 2005. The diagnosis was a terrible blow for the family, following the death of Lauren’s grandfather from the disease and her dad’s own battle.

Lauren had an intensive course of chemotherapy peppered by long periods of illness including pneumonia, shingles and a number of infections.

“We have been through a lot of devastation, but within that devastation we have had some really nice days – we’ve met the Prime Minister, Charlotte Church and Leona Lewis,” said Tracy.