Inspirational Lowestoft teenager’s battle with cancer: How you can help
PUBLISHED: 11:00 30 June 2017 | UPDATED: 13:37 30 June 2017
To her family and friends, Hannah Coffill is an inspiration.
Despite being just 18 years old, the teenager “has gone through so much in her life” – having twice been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour in the past 10 years.
Hannah has had to endure countless hospital visits, operations and life-saving treatment as she battles cancer.
Such is the rarity of this, there are only one or two cases of the tumour Hannah has been diagnosed with in children in the UK in a year.
She said: “To have two separate tumours occur of the types I have had, there are only 49 cases documented worldwide ever.”
But continuing to defy the doctors, and maintaining positivity ahead of the final few days of her latest intense radiotherapy treatments, Hannah, of Carlton Colville, vowed: “Nine days of radiotherapy to go and counting...cancer can do one!”
Hannah was first diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2007, just before her ninth birthday. She underwent treatment at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge from September 2007 to March 2008, which included a nine hour operation to remove as much of the tumour as possible. However the side effects of the tumour meant she was left with no pituitary gland.
After beating cancer back then, a check-up at her opticians in January this year revealed problems with her eyesight. Hannah was referred to hospital and was diagnosed with another tumour. She said: “It is in exactly the same place as my first, this time the tumour was the same type, but a different model so to speak.”
With the cancer returning, the treatment damaged her optic nerves and caused Hannah to go blind.
Now her family – mum and dad Mandy and Lee, sister Holly, 15, and brother Ben, 12 – have started a fundraising campaign to raise funds to visit a private clinic in Berlin. It is one of only two in the world which perform procedures that may give the youngster a chance of restoring some sight.
And so far, more than £5,700 has flooded in on their JustGiving page.
Mrs Coffill said: “I am astonished at how much we have raised. The community has come together and supported us, I can’t thank everyone enough.”
To support Hannah’s treatment, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/amanda-coffill
“Our beautiful Hannah is needing treatment and we all as a community want to help, let’s make this day the biggest, most worthwhile day to remember.”
That is the strapline for Hannah’s Day – a fundraising event being organised by friends of the Coffill family, which is being held on Sunday, August 6 from 1pm at Kirkley and Pakefield FC’s Walmer Road headquarters.
The event will take place exactly a month after Hannah finishes her radiotherapy.
Admitting she can’t wait to finish, and attend the fundraising event, she said: “I will probably cry, because there is so many people helping out. I have always thought there’s lots of bad people in the world - but the response of the community as people rally round to raise funds shows there are more kindhearted people around.”
There will be music, games, a barbecue, The Someones will perform, stalls and fun for all the family. Visit Hannah’s day on Facebook for further details.
Memorial fund boosts the Coffill’s
“It just feels like it was written in the stars.”
That was the reaction of Mandy Coffill, after she spoke with Elaine High – who set up the Taylor High Memorial Fund in her son’s memory after the 19-year-old died in a road crash in west Norfolk in March 2011.
Recently, the memorial fund reached the milestone of 100 donations to worthy causes – with monies given to Hannah and her family.
Mrs High said: “We gave money to Hannah to spend on herself for something to make her smile again, and then gave the parents money to take her and her brother and sister out for a treat.”
Mrs Coffill said: “It was emotional and a lovely surprise. To be the 100th beneficiary was brilliant, and we both said it felt it was meant to be.”