Health scare inspires Redbridge College student’s nursing dream

Young citizens Award Redbridge College,
Helena Assan, age19

Young citizens Award Redbridge College, Helena Assan, age19 - Credit: Archant

The dedicated care of nurses who helped a teenager through a terrifying health scare has led her to pursue a dream of following in their footsteps.

As a young girl growing up in Italy, Helena Assan Kojo, 17, of Woodman Path, Hainault, began to experience headaches and collapsed one day at school.

She spent two weeks in hospital where doctors ran tests to try and identify the cause.

“The care the nurses gave me, they became part of my family,” said Helena.

“It is beautiful how a person who doesn’t know you can impact on you in a way to help you.

“The nurses were able to give me a different kind of impact, they brought happiness and made me feel at home even though I wasn’t.”

Helena’s hospital experience has led her to choose a career in nursing and in recognition of her commitment to helping others, Redbridge College tutors nominated her for the Recorder/Redbridge Rotary Club’s Young Citizen Award.

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“I was surprised,” said Helena. “I never thought they were going to nominate me. I’m happy and proud.”

To compliment her adult nursing studies, the teenager volunteered at Sanctuary Care’s Pinewood Residential Care Home, Manford Way, Hainault.

She said: “I have always wanted to be a nurse, I started volunteering in January and finished in October. I had to stop to take care of my siblings.”

Helena has also been helping out around her college in Chadwell Heath Lane, as a student ambassador for the past two years.

This involves Helena assisting at college events.

“I wanted to experience something new and wanted to gain confidence to talk to people and get to know them,” she said.

Although busy helping the elderly and her three younger siblings, this did not stop Helena gaining a distinction on the biology and sociology units of her access course.

Helena has now gained a place at Keele University in Stoke on Trent to pursue her dream of becoming a nurse.