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‘Fit and healthy’ mum died of rare disease after colleagues noticed her coughing at work

A mum from Wigan died from a rare disease after colleagues noticed her coughing at work. Anne Doran was fit and healthy, still going to the gym and enjoying long walks before she was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF).

The disease, which affects just 50 in every 100,000 people and has no cure, left her struggling to breathe and bedbound. “Inspirational” Anne was diagnosed with IPF in 2014 aged 58 after her colleagues at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital noticed her coughing.

The former senior manager at Royal Liverpool Hospital, who worked as a magistrate and school governor despite battling the disease, passed away in August, 2020. Her family are campaigning to raise money for Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis charity.

Anne’s daughter, Louise Doran told the Manchester Evening News: “She was going walking, going to the gym, you know she was healthy. “Then this came along and at first, she wasn’t on oxygen and she could still get about.

“She was going into work coughing, and someone picked it up and said to her, ‘you better get it checked out’, so she did and had a lung biopsy and it was diagnosed as Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.



Anne Doran began working as a nurse at Royal Liverpool Hospital around 1970

“Then she needed to go on oxygen and she could do less, and less and less. In the end, she’d be sat on the sofa, and just lifting her arm up or just moving one space along, the oxygen in her blood was getting lower.

“Even though she was getting oxygen, her lungs couldn’t deal with it because there was scarring them. It’s so limiting, you can’t talk, you eat less and less.



Ann Doran was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis eight years ago
Ann Doran was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis eight years ago

“You end up being bed-bound and, sadly, from my mum’s experience, once you’re at that stage you probably haven’t got long left.”

Currently, there are only two drugs which slow progression of the disease. Limited clinical trials exist as do lung transplants, but they aren’t available to all patients.

Louise added: “They don’t know what caused it. They asked her all of the usual questions – have you worked in a mine, have you kept pigeons, do you smoke? And the answer was not to all of those questions so they couldn’t pinpoint what it was.

“There are quite a few people who have got it and they don’t know what caused it. There’s various groups on Facebook with hints and tips for people who’ve got IPF, so they can try and support each other.



Ann and Tom Doran were married for 45 years
Ann and Tom Doran were married for 45 years

“But there’s people still struggling there now, just as much as my mum was two years ago and there doesn’t seem to have been many changes. Charities are doing research to try to find a cure, which is brilliant but the day-to-day things really could be so much better.

“It’s such a poor quality of life, it’s awful to see.”

Now, Louise and her sister Jenny have arranged a charity event in Stockport to raise money for Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis which helped their mum. They have organized an audience with author and historian Alison Weir.

The event will take place at the Guildhall in Stockport on June 30. They have also organized for a re-enactment group to appear in costume, and are hosting a raffle. Prizes include a Dyson vacuum worth £379.99 as well as signed books donated by Tracy Borman and Tracy Chevalier.

Alison will be available for book signings and will be in conversation with Dr Martin Heale, reader in medieval history at the University of Liverpool.

Tickets cost £10, to book a ticket for the event, click here .

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