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From patient to doctor: Diss graduate Abigail’s inspiring story

Abigail Hensley who graduated as a doctor, inspired by her illness as a child ANL-150727-095815001
Abigail Hensley who graduated as a doctor, inspired by her illness as a child ANL-150727-095815001

For any student, graduating from university is one of life’s milestones, but for Abigail Hensley, it means more than most.

In 2003, at the age of just 13, Abigail was the second of two Diss High School students to be hospitalised after contracting meningitis.

Fortunately Abigail made a full recovery and the treatment and care she received from doctors whilst suffering from the life-threatening virus, coupled with her interest in the subject, inspired her to pursue a career helping others.

On July 21 she graduated after six years reading medicine at the University of East Anglia and is now looking forward to giving something back to those in need.

“What inspires me is when I remember back to being ill and how good the doctors were to me,” she said.

“You think to yourself I want to be that person, I want to help someone in their time of need.”

She may have recently graduated, but she has already started work at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital as a junior doctor.

During her six years of studying Abigail took a year to read a masters degree in clinical medicine and her new role will allow her to continue to conduct research after a year, something which she has a keen interest in and is passionate about continuing.

However for now, she is glad to have finished her studying, insisting that all the late nights and hard work was worth it for a profession that she feels so strongly about.

“It was very challenging,” she said.

“There were long hours and it was very time consuming but when it’s a passion, you don’t mind that.

“You’re willing to arrive early and leave late and put the hours in that are required.”

Moving so quickly into a new job means that Abigail hasn’t had much time to reflect on her achievements but she admits to having mixed feelings about graduating.

“To be a graduate is both exciting and scary,” she said. At times during the six years it felt as if I was never going to finish but now that it has, I can start helping others in the same way that I was helped when I was in their position.”

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