By anthony carroll
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
An inspirational north Suffolk teenager who has battled a rare cancer and a curved spine has won a national award for her brave attitude in battling adversity.
Hannah Coffill, 14, of Carlton Colville, has been handed a Little Star award by Cancer Research UK after she was nominated by her proud mother for her bravery in facing cancer.
When she was eight Hannah was one of the first girls ever to be diagnosed with life-threatening cancer of the pituitary gland and had to undergo nine hours of brain surgery followed by three gruelling months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
And then in a double blow to Hannah and her family two years she was diagnosed with scoliosis – a curvature of the spine.
The diagnosis led to Hannah having to live in a full body brace for eight months and then she faced further surgery to have metal rods inserted into her spine. But in a sign of her being a real battler, Hannah, who has to take 25 pills a day, is now starting full-time at Pakefield High School and is gearing up to do a charity walk in Bury St Edmunds in July for Cancer Research UK.
Hannah’s determination and positive attitude led to her mother Amanda nominating her for the award, which she received last week.
Amanda, 39, said: “I put her forward as she has gone through so much in her life and she is an inspiration to everyone who knows her.
“She is my special little girl and we are all really proud of her. She has coped with everything life has thrown at her amazingly well.”
When Hannah was diagnosed with cancer of the pituitary gland in October 2007 doctors told her family she could only have weeks left to live and she could be left blind or paralysed by her nine-hour operation. Her mother and her husband Lee and their other children, Holly, 10, and Ben, seven, hope that Hannah will be told she is in remission from the cancer next month.
The Little Star awards are given to under 18-year-olds who have shown bravery in coping with cancer treatment.
As well as her Little Star trophy, Hannah’s prize included a teddy bear, a £50 gift card from the award sponsors TK Maxx and a certificate signed by celebrities including Olympic gold medal hero Mo Farrah, England and Liverpool footballer Steven Gerrard and boyband sensations JLS.
Hannah said she was “happy” to get the award and the prizes and would put the certificate on her wall.
Paula Young, a spokesman for Cancer Research UK, said: “Hannah is a remarkable little girl who is an inspiration to everyone around her.
“We are delighted to be able to give her a Little Star award because she truly deserves it.”