Inspirational beyond belief

It's difficult enough starting a business at any stage in your life. But when you add a cancer diagnosis into the mix, day-to-day living becomes even tougher.

Inspirational beyond belief

This was the reality which faced Rachel and Colman Coyne from Huddersfield who are the proud owners of a franchise business in the travel industry. The husband and wife team, who are both keen travellers, launched their territory in 2013 while still working in the police force.

They were close to turning 50 and decided to run the operation part-time, with a view to retiring from the police as soon as possible, after which they planned to devote all of their time to the fledging business. But shortly after signing up with The Travel Franchise, Rachel received the devastating news that she was suffering from cancer.

Rachel explains: “Colman and I were terrified. We didn’t know what was ahead and felt scared for my life. My son Daniel was only 17 at the time and I couldn’t take the thought of him losing his mum so soon.” Despite this terrible diagnosis, they continued to build their business part-time while Rachel underwent five months of gruelling chemotherapy.

One year later Rachel was given the all-clear by her doctors and, to celebrate this wonderful news, husband Coleman decided this would be the ideal time to retire from the police. So he stepped down six years early and focussed all of his attentions on their travel business.

The business went from strength-to-strength and, thanks to their loyal customers, is now a multi-million pound operation. However, towards the end of 2020, Rachel was told that her cancer had returned and that it was now incurable, which meant she would have to receive treatment for the rest of her life.

Once again, she remains positive and resilient, and will continue to focus on growing an already successful business. She added: “The tumour had come back. I’d always known it was a possibility, but I’d hoped I’d never have to go through all that again. But I have tried to stay positive, because that was all I could do. I just wanted to start a treatment plan as soon as I could. 

“I didn’t have to go off sick, as Colman reminded me work was now so much more flexible and he could support me whenever I felt unwell. I now have an injection every three weeks and when I feel well enough, I get to work with Colman. It can be tiring working while having cancer, but travel is something I’m passionate about. It’s the best job I’ve ever had, so I’m willing to put in the hard work.

“I was absolutely devastated when I got the news it was incurable, however, there was nothing I could do to change it. There are lots of people who have to live with health conditions. I just had to get on with it and adapt. Now that things have opened up again after various Covid lockdowns, we’ve got some trips planned for the Maldives and Tenerife.

“There are dark days, but I’m keeping a positive mind-set and I’m not going to let my cancer beat me. I’m still going to live my life to the fullest, despite my diagnosis. As for our business, it remains the best decision we have ever made.”

Andy Swales
Andy Swales