Student in line for care award after overcoming challenges
8:56am Thursday 10th October 2013 in News
A YOUNG Radcliffe woman whose life was turned upside down when her carer died has been nominated for an award after returning to her university studies.
Mariola Mak, aged 20, spent much of her early years in foster homes, and faced a traumatic time after losing Susan Bell, her inspirational carer, to cancer.
She earned a place to study social care at Manchester Metro-politan University (MMU) but dropped out after struggling to cope living indep-endently from the care system.
Now she has been nominated for a Greater Manchester Care Leaver Award in Higher Education, which recognises and awards the achievements of children looked after by local authorities across the region.
Mariola, of Queen Street, said: “At the time, there was a lot going on in my personal life and I just couldn’t keep it up. The past year I’ve gone through quite a lot of difficult times.
“I’ve been in foster homes and was in supported lodging from 16 to 18.”
She will now represent Bury at the Manchester Achievement Awards, which will be held on November 23.
Although the loss of her carer had a profound emotional impact, it also gave her the strength and motivation to carry on.
Mariola, who is now in her second year at university, said: “Susan was like family to me. When I found out she had terminal cancer it was quite difficult but she said ‘no matter what happens, you pass your course for me’.”
She was nominated for the award by her support worker from the leaving care team, who said Mariola had been ‘through the past few years without the parental support that most of us take for granted.’ Lisa Appleyard-Keeling, student experience tutor at MMU, added: “We are incredibly proud of Mariola, and it has been wonderful to see her blossoming into a confident and capable student.
“There have been real challenges for her this year, but she has maintained the determination to improve her academic ability and to progress to the next year of her study.”
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