Student defies doctors to graduate from college

Student defies doctors to graduate from college

8th July 2014


A COURAGEOUS student told by doctors to give up her studies after being hospitalised with an eating disorder has realised her dreams of going to university.

With help from family, friends and tutors, Shannon Garland, of Brotton, battled back from near organ failure to graduate from the BTEC Diploma in Design Crafts course at Cleveland College of Art & Design.

The 18-year-old will now go on to study a three year BA (Hons) Costume Interpretation with Design at the college’s university campus at Hartlepool.

“I can’t thank everyone enough at CCAD for what they have done for me,” said Shannon, whose intricate design work was shortlisted for the principal’s award at the college’s end of year show.

“I’d only been on the course for three months before I was hospitalised for 36 weeks so I had to do half of my first year’s work from my hospital bed.”

Eventually Shannon was allowed to leave the hospital for one day a week to work on her practical assignments at college, but doctors kept requesting that she drop out of college to concentrate on her health.

“I know they were only thinking about me but my course gave me something to focus on and work towards - and a reason to get healthy,” said Shannon.

“I can’t remember what triggered off my problems with food. It started at school but it wasn’t really serious then. It was all part of stressing about exams, not eating properly and exercising too much and my body just couldn’t take it.

“But through it all I knew that I wanted to be at CCAD, that I wanted to study art and nothing was going to stop me.”

With reassurance from her tutors and a letter to the exam board explaining her circumstances, the college fought hard to help Shannon achieve her grades.

“My tutors were incredibly supportive all through my illness,” said Shannon. “And not just with me but my family too, putting us at ease, e-mailing me and keeping me in touch; nothing was too much trouble for them.

“It was the best decision I ever made coming to CCAD and to get a place to study costume design at Hartlepool is amazing.”

Course leader Caroline Forknall added: “Shannon is an incredible student. She is naturally talented and worked so hard in her second year to make up for lost time.

“I think focusing on the course really helped with her recovery and I’m so pleased for her that she has secured the place that she wanted so much at Hartlepool.”

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