Cape Town school rallies behind staff member diagnosed with breast cancer

Hayley Daniels, a receptionist at Forest Village Leadership Academy in Blue Downs, was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. The staff and pupils at the school, along with the broader community, arranged a fundraiser to assist her with her medical bills. PHOTO: Brendan Magaar / African News Agency (ANA)

Hayley Daniels, a receptionist at Forest Village Leadership Academy in Blue Downs, was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. The staff and pupils at the school, along with the broader community, arranged a fundraiser to assist her with her medical bills. PHOTO: Brendan Magaar / African News Agency (ANA)

‘We are just doing what she has always been doing for us, we are here to support her,’ says a teacher.

Every school is a community, a network of relationships connecting pupils, educators, parents and guardians to create one big family. And Forest Village Leadership Academy in Blue Downs proved just that when the school community rallied behind the school receptionist, Hayley Daniels, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.

Daniels, the receptionist at the Blue Downs school since establishment, was diagnosed with Stage 3 inflammatory breast cancer in January this year.

Daniels was alerted that something was amiss when her eight-month-old baby would not drink from her left breast. She was diagnosed shortly thereafter at the Tygerberg MAMA Breast Clinic.

“The journey thus far has not been easy, but knowing that I have a little baby girl and family to fight for makes it that much easier,” Daniels said.

She can also count on her school family who on Friday last week came out in support when the school arranged to have a “Shavathon” titled “For Hayley” to raise money for her rising medical bills.

Staff at Forest Village Leadership Academy – along with pupils, school governing body members, parents, and the wider community – rallied behind the cause.

The pupils had their hair sprayed by the teachers, but the school hall was moved to tears when, in an emotional scene, Daniels broke down when two of the school’s teachers, the janitors, and even some of the parents opted to have their hair cut by Daniels herself.

“Today means so much to me. I love my colleagues, I love these learners and the way they have supported me means everything to me,” Daniels said. “That little hug, the words of encouragement helps me to keep fighting and gives me hope.”

Kaytlyn Minnies, a Grade 2 teacher at the school, said that she had known Daniels for four years and described her as the light at the school that had always been the positive person that brought people together.

“We are just doing what she has always been doing for us, we are here to support her and we believe she will get through this.”

– African News Agency

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