I was diagnosed with cancer in third year, but that hasn’t stopped me pursuing my dream of being a lawyer
Maisie was able to secure a place on a law conversion course thanks to cancer support charity CLIC Sargent
Maisie Nash, 22, was in her third year of a History degree at the University of York when she learned that she had cancer.
She noticed her energy levels had dropped but initially dismissed the symptoms as a lack of fitness. After discovering a lump on her neck, she was told by doctors that she had bronchitis and swollen glands.
Her breathing got worse resulting in a trip to A&E where she was told that she could have cancer.
Maisie said, "That’s when I started to worry. I was in York hospital all by myself, with my family in Surrey, 300 miles away. Part of me was still convinced they’d probably got the diagnosis wrong so when I called my mum I told her not to come until the next day. Cancer is something that happens to people you know of, not you, and we had no family history of the disease."
Maisie was advised to suspend her studies, but decided to soldier on so that she could do a law conversion course after finishing her degree.
She continued to attend lectures while juggling chemotherapy, "the worst thing [she's] ever experienced," check-ups and appointments graduating with a 2:1.
Maisie had planned to secure a place on a law conversion course as soon as she'd graduated. Unfortunately, until now that has been unable to happen.
"I had a really detailed plan of how I was going to secure and fund a place on my law conversion course," says Maisie, "getting this diagnosis was such a shock and was obviously something that I could never have prepared for. It left me no time to prepare for my future plans, financially or practically. It was all I could do to focus on graduating from my history degree.
"I wasn’t able to fully attend work experience opportunities I had lined up because I was so unwell from treatment, so it was another blow to work out that my savings had been eaten up by covering the extra costs a diagnosis brings.
"I knew for a while that after completing my degree my plan was to take up the law conversion course so that I could become a solicitor, but after looking at my finances I couldn’t see how I would realistically be able to do that."
During her treatment at Royal Marsden Hospital, Maisie met Lara. Lara is a CLIC Sargent Social Worker who was able to provide Maisie with practical, emotional and financial support.
It was from Lara that Maisie learnt about CLIC Sargent's "Thrive Not Just Survive" grant, where applicants could apply for up to £5000 in order to pursue their educational or employment dreams.
Maisie was selected by a panel of CLIC Sargent and Societe General staff to receive a "gold" grant for her course fees on the law conversion course.
Maisie expressed her delight at the support she received, saying "I couldn’t believe it when I found out that I’d been successful. Because I’d struggled so much with work experience, finances, and companies rejecting my sponsorship applications leading up to the application I just assumed it would be another bit of bad news. It’s all thanks to CLIC Sargent and Lara that I knew about the grant, I’m so grateful."
Maisie began her law conversion course in January and hopes to secure a training contract with a legal firm before becoming a fully qualified solicitor.
The "Thrive Not Just Survive" grant will re-open to applicants later this year and you can learn more about it here.