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Student Aleesha overcomes life-threatening illness to graduate with 2:1

By Luke Bartlett | Wolverhampton | Education | Published:

She had to overcome a life-threatening condition and adapt to a new way of living.

Aleesha Verma overcame health issues to graduate with a 2:1 at the University of Wolverhampton

But nothing has stopped star student Aleesha Verma from achieving her dreams.

The determined 22-year-old has graduated from university and will soon start a job in the NHS – as she wants to help people who have suffered the same condition as herself.

Aleesha battled through Ulcerative Colitis to achieve a 2:1 degree in Social Care and Health Studies at the University of Wolverhampton.

It is a long-term condition where the colon and rectum become inflamed, with main symptoms affecting the abdominal area.

All smiles outside the Grand Theatre

Aleesha, from Penn, said: “It feels surreal. It does not feel real at all, it just feels amazing that I have got so far.

“In my last year of A-levels I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. Unfortunately, due to the late diagnosis, I was rushed into hospital on New Year’s Eve.

“I had get my large bowel removed, only to find an ileostomy bag fitted on my stomach. I took a year out to recover both mentally and physically.

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“In my first year I was told that my rectum had to be removed because it was inflamed so now my ileostomy bag is permanent.

Aleesha celebrates with her 15-year-old brother Chirag

“It was a big challenge and a hurdle but I have made it. I’m starting my job in three weeks, I will be working on the NHS 111 as a health adviser.

“I just want to pursue a career in the NHS and help people who have gone through the same condition as myself.”

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Greatest achievement

Aleesha, currently a patient mentor at New Cross Hospital, said earning the degree was her ‘greatest achievement’ and praised the ‘supportive and understanding’ university staff.

She said: “I think my greatest achievement has to be overcoming my battle with my health and still achieving an honourable grade at university.

“Despite all the obstacles and hurdles that came my way, my determination and passion has kept me going.

“My experience at the university has been incredible. The university has given me a platform to accomplish many achievements, and has allowed me to go on to pursue my future goals.

"The staff at the university have been very supportive and understanding when I needed it the most.”

Aleesha comes as one of more than 3,000 students graduating from the University this month.

A total of 17 graduation ceremonies are taking place, with the last graduates collecting their awards on Friday.

Vice-chancellor of the university, professor Geoff Layer said: “We are incredibly proud of each and every one of our 2018 graduates as they enter the next stage of their careers.

"Graduation is a wonderful occasion to celebrate success and this year we have introduced new class photos for students to remember their time here.

“We are also looking forward to welcoming people who have made a significant contribution to their field to join our University family as honorary graduates.

“We hope all of our graduates and their families and friends enjoy celebrating.”

Luke Bartlett

By Luke Bartlett
Trainee Reporter - @lbartlett_star

Trainee Express & Star reporter covering Dudley and Sandwell. Get in touch on 01902 319445 or via luke.bartlett@expressandstar.co.uk.

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