Sandra Robertson |Student with The College of Media and Publishing – professional courses

Courage and determination

We wanted to acknowledge Sandra’s courage and determination to qualify as a magazine journalist, despite difficult personal circumstances.

She works part time, and combines the onerous coursework with helping to care for her daughter, Helen, who has an inherited metabolic disorder – glutaric aciduria type I.

It is rare and incurable and was diagnosed after a ‘metabolic crisis’ when she was 7 months old. Helen has normal intelligence but is effectively quadriplegic and needs someone with her at all times. She is a wheelchair user at all times and has difficulty with speech. She still is a pioneer for eye-gaze computer technology and was the first child in the UK to get funding for such equipment.

Helen still needs a great deal of medical care and she always will.

Sandra took up journalism partly because she wanted to highlight what it’s like for a lay person to wade through the mire of NHS protocols, hospitals, nurses, care in the community, care assessments, dealing with Social Workers, having adaptations done to the house etc. – and to have the tools to do it so that the media would listen.

She wants to use her skills as a journalist to help other families and tell their stories, as she know what things are like for them she would know which questions to ask.

She says that nobody takes a ‘parent’ seriously but if she’s a qualified journalist too, then she stands a chance of being heard.

She has already passed more than half of her exams – some with distinction.
We wanted to recognise her motivation for being a journalist, and her dedication to pushing difficult and complex coursework.