Committed PGCE student Akta Chande has overcome huge personal adversity to graduate from Edge Hill University this week, after what she thought was a cold turned out to be something much more serious.

Akta, aged 24 from Bolton, has studied at Edge Hill since 2010, obtaining a degree in English Language and then staying on to complete her PGCE.

During the Christmas holidays of Akta’s first PGCE year, she began to feel unwell with a cold that wouldn’t go away, and then in January while she was completing her second placement, Akta’s feet started swelling and the joints in her knees began to ache. She went to see her doctor, but nothing was picked up.

“One night, I started breathing very heavily and called an ambulance,” said Akta. “My blood pressure was extremely high so I got admitted and from there I found out I had a rare type of kidney disease called dense deposit disease. At this point I needed treatment to try recover my kidneys.

“Edge Hill supported me and I deferred the year to finish the following year. My kidneys became stable with the treatment. The next academic year I started afresh and my tutors provided me with extra support by giving me one to one meetings to offer help with my assignments which helped me a lot.”

By May 2015, Akta was feeling much better and she started her second placement. Everything was going well until her kidney function started to decline once again, however the school where Akta was completing her placement was extremely supportive and allowed her to go for as many appointments as she required.

Her final placement in January 2016 however, proved to be the most difficult.

“My last placement was extremely hard for me, as this time my kidneys were failing and I had to have an operation and start dialysis – I even fainted during class.

“After being so unwell throughout the placement, I ended up getting a First which I am so happy with. My tutors from Edge Hill and my school were extremely supportive and helped me through, and I am so grateful for this as I couldn’t have done it without them.”

Akta is planning on becoming a supply teacher while she waits for her kidney transplant.

Click here for more information about studying for a PGCE at Edge Hill University.