A BOLTON teacher who received a shock brain tumour diagnosis after falling ill in class in back in school - and is now counting on her students to help raise awareness of the condition which she was struck with at the age of just 29.
Essa Academy’s Lucy Gallagher had an emergency operation to remove a rare brain tumour in November 2020, after she became unwell at school.
Lucy has now supported the national charity Brain Tumour Research, organised a Wear A Hat Day event at her school as she continues to come to terms with her shock diagnosis.
Lucy said: “I have suffered from migraines for years but they were always put down to having a busy, stressful job.
“I was about to teach a lesson when I felt a migraine coming on. I thought I’d just try to power through. As I started to lose sight in my left eye, I told the kids to get a teacher if I became really unwell.
“By the end of the lesson, the left side of my body had started to go numb. I went to sit in a quiet room and someone put out a radio call for a first aider.
“Before I knew it, lots of staff were there, including the headteacher, who decided to call an ambulance.”
The paramedics arrived and took Lucy to Royal Bolton Hospital, where she was triaged and told she needed to see a doctor.
She was sent for a CT scan then later before it was found she had a cyst on her brain. Lucy was then transferred to Salford Royal Hospital.
Lucy was treated for obstructive hydrocephalus and taken into theatre that evening.
The next day she had an MRI scan with contrast and doctors told her they thought she had a rare tumour known as a colloid cyst.
Two days later she had endoscopic surgery to remove the tumour.
Lucy returned to work in January, teaching children remotely.
She said: “When schools reopened earlier this month, I returned at the same time but on a reduced timetable. I can’t walk very far or stand up for long periods.
“I feel very lucky to have extremely supportive employers and the kids have been great too.
“I’ve been very open about my diagnosis and told them what happened and even showed them photographs of my scar. They kept saying: “Miss, are you alright?”, so I wanted to put them at ease. They’ve all been really caring and respectful.”
As part of her new-found mission to raise awareness of brain tumours, Lucy organised a Wear A Hat Day at Essa Academy on yesterday to coincide with the national Brain Tumour Research event.
She said: “When I heard about Wear A Hat Day, I was really keen to get the school involved. We’ve already raised £1,210, which is in part thanks to a generous donation from my mum’s employer Leyland Trucks and their Leyland Trucks’ Helping Hand charity.
“I’m also passionate about spreading the key messages surrounding brain tumours and I’ve given an assembly on the topic to help raise awareness among the school community. I’ve been really lucky, as the surgeon managed to get 100 per cent of my tumour. However, what he can’t tell me is where it came from or why it grew when it did. Just 1per cent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease, and I’m very aware that not everyone is as fortunate as I am.”