AN INSPIRATIONAL head teacher has battled back from breast cancer to return to school in record time.
Brave Diane Blyth today thanked the staff, parents and children at her school for their overwhelming support and helping to pull her through her life-threatening illness.
The stunned mum-of-two found out she had cancer after her first ever routine check-up.
But less than a year after starting treatment she is back at the helm in Inverkip Primary.
Now as her fightback continues she will lead ‘Team Inverkip Primary’ in the Race for Life in aid of Breast Cancer Care this weekend.
Speaking on her first day back, Diane, 53, from Cloch Road in Gourock, said: “I have had so many hugs, it is Inverkip Primary that has kept me going.
“The support I have had from them is tremendous.
“I am a strong believer in positive thinking in life - I think positivity is the best medicine and that is the way I have approached this. My goal was to get back to my job, I love it so much.
“To be honest it is a big relief to start back.”
In April last year Diane went for her first ever breast screening check.
She said: “It was my first routine check and you try to tell yourself it will be fine.
“I was shocked when I was told they had found a lump.
“It was one that was so small I still didn’t know it was there, which just shows how important the screenings are.”
Diane then had to undergo a lumpectomy, followed by a gruelling round of chemotherapy and then radiotherapy.
Throughout her year-long battle Diane, her partner Paul Renfrew, daughter Stephanie and son Jonny have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from family, friends and colleagues.
She said: “I was so determined to get back to work because it is a privilege to be head teacher at Inverkip Primary.
“All the staff, the parents and children are amazing.
“We are such a tight knit wee school. We all pull together and have a great community spirit.”
Now Diane is all set to walk the 5k Race for Life with a 14-strong team behind her.
They have raised £1,400 for the cause so far.
The 53-year-old will be joined by Inverkip Primary teachers as well as colleagues from other schools who are showing their support, including her best friend Alison Irvine, the Moorfoot Primary head teacher.
She said: “I am humbled by all the people taking part.
“I have had great support from parents on social media cheering us on. My best friend Alison has been with me every step of the way.”
Diane is also delighted to have her daughter Stephanie beside her all the way.
She added: “I think it has been tough for Stephanie because she is a teacher in Aberdeen and was not able to see me every day. We had to reassure her it was okay.”
Inverkip Primary depute Mhairi Crossan will join the group as well as other staff, including Christina Reynolds and her daughter.
Christina added: “Diane is an inspiration to us all. She has been so strong.”
Former Whinhill Primary depute Diane knows that her battle is not over and she is now gearing up to face the challenges ahead.
She said: “I am now on a cancer drug for five years and it can be very tiring. I will get regular mammograms, which is still scary.”
Diane would like to thank the school’s janitor Jim Donnelly who will drive everyone to Glasgow for the race on Sunday.
To support Diane and make a donation log on to https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/page/dianes-fundraising-page-463