From the Cornish Guardian 21 August 2014.
GEORGIA LUNDON was celebrating not only completing college but gaining impressive results – four A-levels at A* grades.
Georgia, 18 and from St Cleer, scored highly in sociology, English literature, law and psychology despite only being a part-time student at Truro and Penwith College.
That’s because for the last six years she has been battling with ME, myalgic encephalopathy, sometimes known as chronic fatigue syndrome.
“I was about 12 years old when I was diagnosed with ME after I had meningitis,” she explained.
The illness robbed Georgia of her strength and she missed many years of secondary education.
“I did try to go back to school at 15 or 16 but my ME came back after having surgical complications after a ruptured appendix, so I only did my first and last years,” she said.
“I had to learn independently and I taught myself; I’ve always been self-motivated.”
During her time at college Georgia would manage two or three days a week before relapsing and having to take time off to recover.
Because of her cognitive symptoms, which cause difficulty thinking and concentrating, Georgia devised a way of getting through her studies by recording her lessons and notes: but when it came to the exams she was faced with other problems: “I struggled to read the questions and read what was written,” she said.
Georgia admits her English exam was the toughest: “I was in so much pain and I left thinking the worst, but I tried to a work a way through it and remember that my ME has been a lot worse than it is now.”
With her grades Georgia is going on to read forensic psychology at the University of Surrey.
“I never thought college or academia would be for me,” she said. “I never thought with my illness I could withstand college, and without my friends and the teaching staff I couldn’t have done it.”
Georgia’s best friend Lois Mitchell from Truro has been there every step of the way. She understands her friend’s difficulties because she too has chronic fatigue syndrome, which leaves her feeling exhausted in times of stress.
Despite her illness Lois managed to gain an A in English, a B in psychology and a D in human biology, which she is hoping to have re-marked.
She is going on to take a degree at Bath with the aim of becoming a social worker, after being inspired by a trip to Kenya where she worked with street children.