Tragic last WhatsApp messages of teacher, 42, who was afraid to return to classroom before she caught Covid and died
3rd May 2021

THIS is the tragic last WhatsApp message a teacher sent to her sister before being put into a coma in her battle against Covid.

Donna Coleman, 42, was terrified to return to the classroom at Burnley College – and she sadly died in January after contracting coronavirus.

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Her family believed she would pull through – being a young woman and always being a fighter.

Donna was a lecturer at Burnley College – where many of her pupils were older people who had found themselves unemployed, teenagers who had been excluded from school or people with special educational needs.

The college opened its doors again in September 2020 after being closed because of the pandemic, but Donna soon became concerned for her own wellbeing.

Donna first tested positive for Covid on December 14 – after beginning to feel ill a few days earlier.

She dealt with symptoms for weeks, feeling unwell but expecting to eventually begin to recover.

However on December 29, things took a turn for the worst and the 42-year-old was admitted for Blackburn Royal Hospital.

She was struggling to breathe and called herself an ambulance and on New Year's Eve was admitted into an intensive care unit.

Despite saying she felt better on January 3, her father Daniel got news that evening that the lecturer would have to be put into a medically induced coma and placed on a ventilator.

Donna's sister Steph, 38, told Manchester Evening News: "It was only then that I ever thought we might lose her.

"That's the point where I thought this could go badly. I always believed before that she would be fine, all of us did."

Minutes before being put into the coma, Donna and her sister exchanged messages on WhatsApp, where she told Steph: "I’m fighting all I can. I just need some help.

"I am fighting. I can’t wait to have a hug."

Donna’s tragic final messages

Donna: I’m fighting all I can. I just need some help.

Steph: Don’t you dare give up. You promised you’d fight.

Donna: I am fighting.

Steph: Just think of it like the best sleep you’ll ever have. We’ll be here, waiting for you.

Donna: I can’t wait to have a hug.

Steph: I love you sis.

Donna: I love you more.

Steph: It’s not possible.

Steph responded: "Don’t you dare give up. You promised you’d fight. Just think of it like the best sleep you’ll ever have. We’ll be here, waiting for you.

"I love you sis."

Donna's last message to her sister was: "I love you more."

Her sister responded: "It's not possible." Donna read the final message, but never replied.

Steph and Daniel visited Donna in hospital the next day – but hours after their visit, they were told that her organs had begun to fail.

On January 6, the sisters, who had been so close throughout their lives, sat and held hands with her as the life-support machines were switched off.

Her sister believes it is "highly likely" that she contracted the virus at the college.

Speaking about Donna, Steph said: "She cared, she believed and I think that's a huge part of teaching, you've got to believe in people.


"Donna was the loveliest person and would have done anything for anyone.

"She was worried about going into work because the cases were going up and up.

"Even though she didn't have symptoms she was worried because it was coming thick and fast around them."

At the same time she fell ill, 14 other members of staff in the same department came down with Covid during an "outbreak", Steph said.

A Health and Safety Executive spokesperson said: “All concerns raised with us relating to arrangements at the college were looked into.

"The college provided us with detailed records and after discussions we were satisfied that the college was complying with the relevant published guidance.

"Our enquiries relating to the death of Donna Coleman are, however, ongoing.

"We remain in contact with Donna’s family and have explained what we do, how and why.”

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