I developed kidney failure at two weeks old and lived for thirteen years one kidney until I was given a transplant by my mother. Now, 8 years down the line, I have managed to do many things I’m proud of – I’ve finished my GCSEs and A Levels, and even played football for the Wales Transplant Football Team. This year I’ve also completed my BA (Hons) Graphic Communication degree at Cardiff Met.
I’d wanted to study at Cardiff Metropolitan University since I first visited for an open day, though initially I thought about studying Product Design rather than Graphic Communication. I have enjoyed every minute on the course, and I feel like I’ve been taught the ins and outs of the industry along the way.
For many years my family and I have been supported by Kidney Wales, a charity based in Cardiff that works to change the lives of patients with kidney diseases. Because of this, I’ve often used them as an example client in design projects for my course.
A year ago I was actually given the opportunity to spend some time as an in-house Graphic Communicator at the charity. My work placement led to a job, and alongside my final year studies I’ve been working there once a week – which has really kept me on my toes!
My final major project with Cardiff Met offered me another chance to work with Kidney Wales. I created an adolescent transition programme to help young kidney patients as they move from children’s to adult services. It can be a scary process, and it’s important that the support is there early to help make the process run smoothly for the patients.
I created The Buds Programme to act as a guide or ‘buddy’ for the patient that supports them through taking responsibility for things like medication and diet. It also offers a way to communicate with other patients in the same situation.
I designed the programme alongside the Renal Clinic at the University Hospital of Wales and had a lot of support from Kidney Wales Charity. I saw the project as a chance to give something back in return for how they’ve helped me, and I would love to work on others like it in the future.
Since I submitted the project, the Buds Programme was granted funding by the Welsh Government at the Welsh Health Hack 2019 – an event which looks at how tech and digital solutions can help with clinical problems in the health service.
There were 12 teams, each with unique ideas to benefit the health industry, but only four could win the funding by pitching an idea to a panel of experts. My programme was one of the winners that will be carried forward, and by next year the app will be live to help patients across Wales.
I’ve worked on lots of projects with Kidney Wales, such as fundraising events and award ceremonies. Recently I’ve also been working on the Cardiff 10k for them, which Cardiff Met is sponsoring in 2019. Last year I ran my first 10k, and this year I will be doing it again to support this great charity.
I will also be running on behalf of Cardiff Met as a graduate. It’s my way of saying thank you for how my Graphic Communication course has helped me start the next chapter of my life.