Life threatening illness doesn’t stop Bracknell and Wokingham College student from striving to achieve her life’s ambition

An art and design student from Bracknell and Wokingham College has spoken out about returning to education after recovering from a life-threatening illness.

19-year-old student Chloe Swain originally started studying Art and Design Level 3 Extended Diploma at the college on Church Road in September 2018 but had to take some time off to undergo treatment for Neutropenic Sepsis.

“Neutropenic Sepsis is a type of sepsis that destroys your neutrophils which is your second type of white blood cell,” Chloe said. “You have two white blood cells, one for viruses and one for bacteria. The ones for bacteria are called neutrophils. Neutropenic Sepsis is where you’ve got less than a healthy person should.

“I had quite a bit of treatment including chemotherapy and a blood infection which was treated but can reoccur if your immune system is weak. It can attack your red and white blood cells and I had chemo to try and get rid of it as much as possible.

“I was monitored when I came out of hospital to make sure that I was getting healthier. I was anaemic, I got put on tablets and I was on iron supplements, I am still on them at the moment as I’m not 100%, but I am getting there.”

She has now made a full recovery and has returned to college to finish her second year and is progressing well on her course.

“After what I’ve been through, I now know nothing is impossible,” Chloe said. “Personally, I’ve changed quite a lot over the past year. Last year I was very depressed, anxious and closed off and then after going through what I did I opened up a lot more. I am more energetic, happier and more myself now. I want to make every day count.”

Inspired by her interest in Architecture, Chloe organised some work experience with Bloor Homes. Chloe does work experience with the company one-day-a-week, which will continue until the Easter holidays.

“I’ve been interested in Architecture since travelling to Barcelona and France and saw all of the beautiful buildings and monuments,” Chloe said. “I’m also fascinated by one-off, bespoke houses.

“The Managing Director of Bloor homes architects is my brother in law’s Dad, and I asked him if I could do some work experience to get the feel of what it’s like behind the scenes with building a house and they agreed and even though I’ve only been there one day a week for a couple of months, I’ve learnt so much already.

“I’ve learnt about all of the work that is involved before a house is built including planning, engineering, and other aspects such as environmental issues.

“I’m probably going to have some on-site experience and see different types of building work and different sites.”

After finishing college, Chloe is hoping to pursue an apprenticeship, hopefully at Bloor Homes to become an architect who designs one-off, bespoke houses.

“I would like to do an apprenticeship so that I can earn while I learn,” Chloe said.

“I’m very grateful to be able to come back and finish my course and hopefully get a good grade and move on to the apprenticeship.”

Find out more about the visual art and design courses that are available to study at Bracknell and Wokingham College and other Activate Learning colleges or contact us on 0800 612 6008.

(Photograph taken by Callum Welch, who is currently studying a Photography Level 3 Extended Diploma at Bracknell and Wokingham College).