Headteacher handed in retirement forms weeks before devastating diagnosis

Headteacher handed in retirement forms weeks before devastating diagnosis

A former headteacher was in “complete shock” after being given a devastating diagnosis just weeks after handing in her retirement forms.

Ann Coffey, ex-headteacher of St Michael and All Angels Primary School, Kirkby, had a “weird feeling that something wasn’t right” with her body. The mum, from Crosby, took herself to the doctors who referred her to the Aintree Breast Clinic. There, she was diagnosed with lobular breast cancer just a fortnight after she began her plans to retire.

Ann, who is in her 60s, had never met anyone before who had cancer and so it “never entered her mind” that she might have the disease. She believed cancer was something that happened to others, so when she got the news she didn’t know what to think.

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Over a decade after her diagnosis, Ann now works to support others who have found themselves in a similar situation, by running a North West-based charity that helps women facing breast cancer, from diagnosis, through treatment, and beyond.

The cancer therapist told the ECHO: “I never gave any thought to cancer before but I just felt like something was wrong with me. I knew I needed to get it checked out. It was just a weird feeling I had. I went to my doctor who referred me to Aintree Breast Clinic and that’s where I was told I had cancer. I felt alone because I didn’t know anyone else who had cancer.”

What followed next for Ann was three weeks of radiotherapy and two operations – a lumpectomy and a mastectomy. Two years into her treatment, Ann’s husband died and as a result, she sought support from a breast cancer charity, Sunshine.

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  • May 26, 2023