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Student who battled MS set to graduate

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A student who battled against debilitating effects of multiple sclerosis - forcing her to defer two years of study and receive medical attention from paramedics during lectures - is finally set to graduate.

Just as she had her eyes set on a lifelong dream to work in the Police, Kate Langwine-Cooke was struck down with excruciating stomach pains in her early 20s.

Symptoms including blindness and loss of sensation in her legs later followed and doctors confirmed that she had MS.

Three years later after a course of chemotherapy to control the condition, Kate secured a place on the Criminology and Criminal Justice degree at Glyndŵr University in Wrexham, through Clearing.

Now 29, she is hoping to collect a first-class degree in front of hundreds of graduates and their families next month.

Kate, who hails from the town, said: “I always wanted to work in the Police but decided to work in another industry for a few years when I left school.

“By the time I had reached 21, my health had deteriorated and I’d been diagnosed with MS. I initially took a course of steroids to control the pain but the MS was causing complete havoc with my body. It got to the stage where I had to have help being fed, washed and put into bed – all the simple things in life you normally take for granted.”

“I started having chemotherapy, firstly in hospital and then as an outpatient, self-injecting at home every day,” added Kate.

“I did that for three years. It was incredibly painful and difficult but during that time I decided I wanted to put my life back on track and have a career.

“For the first two years of study I was self-injecting and I’d often been in university struggling to walk and suffering speech problems, anxiety and depression.

“By the start of my third year specialists decided they were going to start a different chemotherapy treatment which involved chemotherapy at Walton hospital 12 months apart. That wiped me out for two winters and I had to defer my studies.

“Last October I returned to complete my third year stronger and more determined than ever. I wanted to get a first to prove to myself and the MS that I wasn’t going to be beaten.

“Paramedics attended to me three times during lectures this year but I’m so close to finishing now and I’m just really proud. I can’t believe I’m finally going to finish after five years of a three-year degree.”

Kate is hoping to secure work rehabilitating offenders when she graduates.

“After five years I’m so excited that they’re building a prison down the road because that’s where I want to be working.

“I can’t sing the praises of the disability support team at Glyndŵr University enough for the support they’re provided.

“I didn’t get the GCSE results you’d normally expect of someone with aspirations for a high degree classification – before I joined Glyndŵr I was more interested in having fun and living for the day.

“But after everything that had gone on with my health I was determined to set myself a challenge as every single day of living with MS has been a challenge.”

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