Sidmouth mum’s degree despite cancer battle

First-class honours for brave Jeanette

A SIDMOUTH mum landed a first-class degree despite being diagnosed with breast cancer during her studies.

Brave Jeanette Ward, 49, was a star student even though she underwent two operations and courses of chemotherapy and radiotherapy as she battled the illness.

The Alexandria Road resident this month celebrated graduating from Plymouth College of Art with honours.

Bachelor of Arts and mum-of-one Jeanette told the Herald: “I didn’t want to sit around twiddling my thumbs and thinking about the cancer.


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“Rather than making me want to stop, it made me more determined.

“I’m so very glad and proud.”

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Doctors told Jeanaette she had breast cancer at Christmas time in 2009 during her second year of studies.

“When I was first diagnosed the college offered me the chance to take a break but I didn’t want to sit at home worrying, I wanted to carry on,” she said.

“My immediate reaction to the diagnosis was ‘can you do the first operation in half term as I need to get my work done’.

“I don’t know what I’d have done if I wasn’t doing the degree. It was tough but I consider myself fortunate.

“The college worked hard to support me. They were very good.”

Jeanette has now finished her treatment for the cancer.

She says her degree has filled her with confidence and she hopes to start her own business.

Jeanette, who specialises in making high-end enamel jewellery, caused a stir as one of the stand-out exhibitors at New Designers, a showcase of 3,500 graduates’ work, and even attracted the national media spotlight.

She often commuted from Sidmouth to Plymouth and juggled her treatment, studies and family life.

Jeanette attended a graduation ceremony at Plymouth Guildhall on October 8.

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