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Head takes time off from cancer battle to stage fundraiser

PUBLISHED: 16:38 17 March 2010 | UPDATED: 09:27 12 August 2010

BOUNCING BACK: Headteacher Sam Crinnion

BOUNCING BACK: Headteacher Sam Crinnion

A HEADTEACHER battling breast cancer hopes a gala concert will help raise £80,000 to aid others fighting the illness.

A HEADTEACHER battling breast cancer hopes a gala concert will help raise £80,000 to aid others fighting the illness.

Sam Crinnion, who lives in Southlands with her husband and son, is organising the show to buy a vital piece of scanning equipment for the breast care unit at Princess Royal University Hospital (PRUH), in Farnborough.

Ms Crinnion, 41 who is headteacher of Dartford Bridge Community Primary School, in Dartford, said: "We are trying to fund a sentinel node analyser, which will pick up the spread of cancer sooner.

"This is a very new machine that, in one year, will save up to 250 people from having to undergo added surgery."

Ms Crinnion was diagnosed with grade two breast cancer last October, and underwent a full mastectomy within weeks. She also had her sentinel lymph node removed for testing.

After an agonising two-week wait, the results came back positive and during a further operation she had her lymph nodes removed.

The equipment that Ms Crinnion wants to fund would mean instant analysis of the sentinel node, cutting out the traumatic wait for results and speeding up the start of chemotherapy.

She decided to help raise funds for the equipment after speaking to her consultant at the PRUH, Anil Desai, who said that the analysis machine would have huge benefits to patients, but that the hospital lacked the funds to buy one.

The £80,000 raised would fund the state-of-the-art machine for two years, during which time hospital bosses would like to secure permanent funding from their own budget.

As the next fundraising step, Ms Crinnion, who used to be part of Bromley Youth Orchestra, has enlisted the help of 30 to 40 professional musicians who have been part of the orchestra over the years.

The concert, which will take place at Ravensbourne School, in Hayes Lane, on April 18, will mark the first time that members of the youth orchestra, from its debut in 1975 to today, have played together.

The players all work for national orchestras or West End shows. They will play big band tunes and music from the shows.

Remarkably, Ms Crinnion has found time to coordinate the gala concert and carry on in her role at the Dartford school while undergoing exhausting chemotherapy, which finally ends tomorrow.

She said: "I've managed to bounce back after the chemo with the support from friends and family.

"The children at school, when they found out I'd lost my hair, were brilliant."

To donate to the appeal, visit www.justgiving.com/samanthacrinnion

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