My name is Maddy Jenkins, I’m 19 years old and have just started a degree course for Paramedic Science at the University of Greenwich in Chatham, Kent.

When I was 8 years old I had a detached retina in my right eye, surgery unfortunately did not work and I now have no vision in that eye.  Following on from this I was diagnosed with Sticklers Syndrome, which means I am very short sighted and at times get extremely tired.  I had to have surgery on my left eye to reduce the chances of having another detached retina and now have regular annual check ups at Addenbrooks hospital for my eyes and general health concerning Sticklers.

Sensory Consortium helped me at primary school since year 3 although at times I wasn’t very happy to see Janet and wasn’t exactly co-operative! They advised my teachers and provided me with certain pieces of equipment, like a lap top, to help with my school work.

When I moved to secondary school I just wanted to be like everyone else so apart from sitting near the front of the class room and having extra time for exams I fitted in. I enjoyed sports very much and went on to study A level PE along with A level English Literature and Textiles. I completed the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme obtaining Bronze, Silver and Gold while at Charters school.

I also got the chance in Sixth form to go on a World Challenge 3 week trip to India which was amazing. We trekked and helped with a community project. To raise funds for my trip I did a tandem skydive,  jumping out of an aeroplane at 10,000 feet – that was a real adrenalin rush and would love to do it again. For part of my A level PE course I trained to become a lifeguard and thoroughly enjoyed the first aid side of the training, this led me to volunteer at St John’s Ambulance and attend various community events.

During my gap year after finishing my A levels I worked full time at Legoland and decided that I would love to pursue a career as a paramedic.  I had a full driving licence but was unable to apply for the necessary C1 part (driving a larger vehicle, like an ambulance) however I got accepted to study at The university of Greenwich so here I am! I’m loving uni life so far, have made new friends, I even enjoy cooking for myself and looking after my room!

I know when I lost my sight when I was younger it was a shock to my parents, perhaps I was too young to fully understand the implications, however my Mum said that the consultant said not to wrap me up in cotton wool and I never have been. Some things at times have been harder for me but I’ve tried and usually succeeded. My loss of vision has not stopped me doing anything so far and I can’t see that changing anytime soon!

Maddy x