BROTHER INSPIRES CARER’S MEDICINE DREAM
A YOUNG carer with hearing loss has fulfilled her lifelong dream of getting a place at medical school.
Claire Wiliams, 19, is the first in her immediate family to go to university after getting three A grades in her A-levels.
Claire, from Bridgend, credited her brother Matthew, who has Down’s syndrome and is on the autistic spectrum, with influencing her career decision.
She is off to Leicester University to read medi- cine after achieving A* in chemistry, A* in biology and A in maths.
The teenager, who went to Ysgol Brynteg before getting a scholarship to go to fee-paying Cardiff Sixth Form College for A-levels, helps care for Matthew, 17.
She re-sat her first year of A-levels and, against the odds, got three offers to study medicine at King’s College, London, Exeter and Leicester.
Claire, who will now be going to her first choice Leicester, said she has experienced first-hand the benefits of the NHS, attending hospital appointments with her brother and being actively involved in caring for him.
“My brother is very independent and attends Heronsbridge Special School in Bridgend and we have a very special bond and often use sign-language to communicate. He has directly influenced my decision to study medi- cine,” she said.
Claire has conductive hearing loss herself, having suffered with glue ear as a child.
This eventually led to a bone being eroded in her ear and she now wears a hearing aid permanently, which she said she found very difficult to deal with at the beginning of her studies.
“It has been a lifelong ambition of mine to become a doctor and help people who have under- gone trauma in their lives,” she said.
“As well as looking after my brother, I have worked as a healthcare assistant at Hafod in Bridgend, where I learnt a lot about manual handling skills and have seen first-hand how much we need good healthcare professionals here in Wales.
“I was also involved with a fantastic work placement scheme organised by my school, Cardiff Sixth Form College, in Malaysia for two weeks last summer, where I was fortunate to see surgical operations including an ear operation in quite difficult conditions.
“During work experience at Cardiff Spire Hospital I saw a vasectomy on the first day as well as a hysterectomy and both hip and shoulder replacements. The adrenalin rush was incredible and has made me really determined to succeed.
“I am under no illusions how hard the seven-year training will be, especially as I am interested in specialising in plastic surgery and reconstruction.”
Cardiff Sixth Form principal Gareth Collier said: “We are enormously proud of Claire, who has shown real resilience and dedication – she is a real role model.
“We need young people like Claire to come back to Wales and give the NHS the valuable support it needs.”
Claire Williams with her brother Matthew