Receiving a cancer diagnosis is traumatic at the best of times, but for Belinda, receiving the diagnosis of a brain tumour when she was 25 weeks pregnant brought her entire world crashing down.
Within weeks of her diagnosis in 2008, her surgeons told her that she had to have surgery immediately, or there was a risk she would not live to see her baby being born.
She had been a fit and healthy young woman before the operation, but the surgery left Belinda with an acquired brain injury and she was told she would never walk or talk again.
It is a testament to her determination that Belinda has proved the doctors wrong on both counts, despite still experiencing uncontrollable movements that affect the right side of her body. In the process of going through rehabilitation and watching her three children grow up and progress though school she has found a renewed purpose for her life.
“I completed a Certificate 4 in Disability and an Enabling Women with Disabilities program, and one of the ladies who was having a particularly difficult time with her new disability thanked me at the end of the program for helping her,” Belinda said.
“I realised at that point that not everyone accepts their disability as easily as I did and I felt that I could help people by being there to listen and guide them through the difficult process of adapting to life with a disability.”
Belinda came to Worktrainers with her Occupational Therapist with the goal of finding work. She wanted to be able to help others with disabilities and had begun to consider a Bachelor of Psychology, but was concerned whether she would be capable of completing the course.
“Belinda is really inspiring with her attitude to life, we have been mentoring and supporting her through the process of applying for university and looking for the right job that will suit her abilities,” said Isabel, Belinda’s employment consultant.
“Obviously university presents a heavier workload and because Belinda can no longer write due to the acquired brain injury we have helped to find the right computer programs that will make it possible for her to complete the work.
“Some of our clients come in with a plan that involves further study – it’s not always about getting them straight into a job – so we support them through the process that gets them to where they want to be.
“We will most likely be involved with Belinda through the next four years of her university degree.”
Belinda begins her university course this month and is excited to begin the next chapter of her life. While Belinda has the determination to make this journey on her own, she is relieved to know she has Isabel and the staff at Worktrainers to help her along the way.