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ANN-KATRIN BERGER’S STRENGTH OF CHARACTER

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Despite her illness, the Blues Ladies goalkeeper has lifted all those around her, Marc Skinner has revealed.

Ann has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer and is due for surgery next week.

But the way in which she has come to terms with the condition has been nothing short of an inspiration, particularly for the rest of the team.

“At first it was a real shock,” said Blues Ladies Manager Skinner. “We didn’t know how to react when we first found out.

“We literally sat in a room and it was Ann-Katrin who said we needed to sort out what’s next.

“She came and told the coaching staff, as she wanted to do that, and her strength of character was just immense.

“It changed the whole atmosphere of the room – we ended up having a laugh, with her, based on the fact on how soon she wanted to get back.

“When she made the decision that she wanted to speak to the players there were a few tears. But she delivered what she said with the same kind of great energy she has shown from the start of all this.

“We all believe now. We all believe in her and we believe she is going to get back from this and be even stronger.”

Ann is still able to train up until surgery. It has been a real point of focus for her, said Skinner.

And the way the Club, football community and the public at large has rallied round was ‘overwhelming’.

“We released the statement about Ann’s condition on our media sites and the response has just been so supportive since, from all over the country.

“Whether it has been well-wishers or people sharing their stories.

“Ann is a quiet, reserved person. She just wants to get on with it.

“But having spoken to her the day after the news became public, she loves the fact that people are on board and is touched by the support she has received. It has been overwhelming really.”

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