A COURAGEOUS mum is on the way to achieving her dream of becoming a nurse after enduring one of life’s most unbearable tragedies.
Rachel Deane, from Crookhorn, lost her baby Keira aged just 13 months old.
Keira was born with a genetic disorder called Miller-Dieker Syndrome, which is so rare that when Keira was born she was one of just two babies in the country with the condition.
The disorder means the brain is severely underdeveloped and leads to seizures and feeding difficulties.
Keira died at the Chestnut Tree House hospice in Arundel on January 13, 2011.
By that time, Rachel had made up her mind that she wanted to help families in similar situations by becoming a nurse.
The 26-year-old left school with no qualifications and went to work in a stationery shop, but is now determined to go to university to study a degree in nursing.
She has been studying for maths and English qualifications at South Downs College in Waterlooville alongside her friend Louise Jury, 27, from Hilsea, who was Keira’s godmother and plans to become a social worker.
Rachel said the experience of having a sick child changed her life forever after she spent several months pacing the wards of Queen Alexandra Hospital.
‘She was not diagnosed until she was three months old – they had no idea what was wrong with her,’ said Rachel, of Athena Avenue.
‘We were in hospital from when she three days old until she was four months old, so we got to know the hospital pretty well. In a weird way, it’s given me a purpose of what I want to do – to help other parents who go through what I went through. Otherwise I would never had done anything – I would have no purpose to do anything.’
She added: ‘Doctors said to me it was bad luck. I felt pretty upset and angry that people would say to me it’s bad luck.
‘Lots of parents get told the same thing. It makes me want to be an understanding nurse who can sympathise with the parents who are told that news every day.’
Rachel and her husband Thomas, 27, are now the proud parents of a healthy baby, Aiden, who is 16 months old.
Rachel added: ‘I am now studying for my Level 2 maths and GCSE English qualifications.
‘Studying for these qualifications has not always been easy. I was heavily pregnant with my son when I took my Level 1 exam and lots of people told me that they didn’t think that I would return to college after I had him. I returned to studies when he was just five weeks old and I haven’t stopped since! Studying on the Skills for Life courses is the best thing that I have ever done.
‘I am much more confident with everything now.’