Meet Laura, an inspiring young woman from Ipswich in Queensland, who in 2017 took out the title of Ipswich Young Citizen of the Year. Laura, who has a care experience, is a wonderful example of how your past does not define your future!
A BIT ABOUT LAURA
I was placed into foster care at only eight weeks of age, where I was blessed with a loving family. Growing up I was dyslexic and struggled to read, write and spell. I was diagnosed with a few medical conditions that affected my life in school and made me extremely unwell in grades 10, 11 and 12. Furthermore, at this time my dad was diagnosed with cancer and my mum a rare autoimmune disease where she lost a kidney, and both of my parents commenced on chemotherapy. Feeling overwhelmed, I suffered from severe anxiety and depression.
However, above all I managed to throw myself into dance. Not only did I compete for my school with my peers but also volunteered to teach and take younger school children to dance in my lunch breaks and spare time. I also entered and took them to compete in Ipswich dance eisteddfods. Despite my obstacles, I gained an OP to get me into the nursing degree at Griffith University which I longed for. At the end of my second year of university (so close to graduation!), I went for a simple procedure of wisdom teeth removal where I suffered from a rare reaction to anesthetic and was placed in an induced coma. This delayed my studies, however, I graduated and am now working as a Registered Nurse, proving dedication will achieve your goals.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE WINNING IPSWICH YOUNG CITIZEN OF THE YEAR?
Finding out I had been nominated for the award was a wonderful shock in itself. I have never gone out of my way to do things just for recognition. However, the nomination letter itself gave me a sense of accomplishment.
When I was presented the award of Ipswich Young Citizen of the Year, my heart raced and I struggled to hold back the tears. In that moment everything I had been through, good and bad and everything I had done was worth it. It was a feeling of acceptance and relief, knowing all my hard work and dedication to achieve my goals and also the hard work I had done to help the community was actually making a difference to people.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
I have faced multiple obstacles growing up and am extremely proud of how I have overcome each set back and still achieved as much as I have today. I am excited I have completed my Bachelor of Nursing and was able to go to Laos with my degree to volunteer to run nursing clinics to those in need within the rural communities and villages. Furthermore, raising money with a team to pay for emergency surgeries, medications and medical interventions for these individuals was a huge achievement. However, my biggest achievement to date is being awarded the Young Citizen of the Year 2017.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
My plan for the immediate future is to continue nursing within the hospitals as well as become a role model and help young people in care to achieve their goals and become more educated. My five-year plan is to buy a house and go back to university to do my postgraduate studies and Masters of Nursing in order to go further within my nursing career.
WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE IN CARE?
Set your goals high and chase them. You can only achieve as much as you desire to achieve. Life is hard but there is always a silver lining. All it takes is a little bit of hard work and determination. Over my life I have faced multiple obstacles big and small and still do to this day. However, I push through the rough times and always find myself out the other end with my goals achieved. It’s very hard work and doubt always prolongs the process. You need to put yourself into the right frame of mind and then the world is your oyster.
Do you know a young person in care achieving amazing things?
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