Jamie was just like any other Edge Hill teaching student, enjoying his school placement and playing football until one day in 2019 everything changed.
From feeling a bit light-headed and sick, within three days Jamie suffered heart failure and was placed in an induced coma.
With his organs shutting down he was fitted with a device to mimic his heart and was told he needed a heart transplant.
Unable to eat properly or walk more than a few steps, Jamie was told a donor has been found only for the heart to be rejected due to its condition.
More lung surgery followed before Jamie was finally given the green light that a new donor had been found.
Jamie said: “Words cannot describe how grateful I am to my donor and their family. The gift of life is the most selfless gift that can ever be given and I would like to take this opportunity to encourage everyone to donate. I had incredible doctors and nurses and after intense weeks of physio and medication to ensure my body didn’t reject my new heart I was allowed home, three months after being admitted.”
And after leaving hospital Jamie was able to achieve the two goals he’d set himself even before his transplant; finish his PGCE and become a qualified teacher, and set foot on a football pitch again.
He said: “I’m not quite sure why I was so determined to achieve these goals, but looking back, I think it was comforting as much as anything. Setting these goals allowed me to see some light at the end of the tunnel and to be able to look to the future, rather than dwell on the negatives of the present.
“I was determined to get my life back and treat my current ill-health as a minor setback, as opposed to the serious situation it was. Teaching is a profession where you can have a positive impact on so many lives and I feel as though it would be a fitting tribute to my donor and their family to say that, not only did they save my life, but they also changed the lives of so many others.
“As a result, I felt a great sense of pride on my first day back on placement and at achieving what I set out to do 12 months ago – complete my PGCE Secondary Mathematics course.”
He added: “I hope my story might inspire students to overcome adversity in the future. For anyone who’s going through a difficult time I’d say surround yourself with people who will encourage you and take your mind off things and set yourself goals, no matter how small they may seem.
“In a strange way, my relationship with my course leader and the PGCE maths team has been a highlight of my time at Edge Hill. Not because of the usual relationship you might have with your lecturers but because of all the work they did for me, above and beyond the course.
“From hospital visits to liaising with schools and exam boards, I can vouch that tutors will do everything in their power to help students achieve no matter what.”
Jamie is now looking forward to starting his NQT (newly qualified teaching year) at a school in September.
Edge Hill University runs a number of courses in education and teacher training. Visit the website https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/education for more information on all the education courses available at Edge Hill.