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Neath teenager’s tragic death inspired her mum to degree success and a new career

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A mature student who suffered a devastating family tragedy during her degree course has now successfully graduated and dedicated her success to her late daughter.

Megan Jones was just 15 when she lost her battle with leukaemia in February 2019.

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Her mum Emma Tamplin was in the second year of a BSc in Business Management at Swansea University’s School of Management when Megan’s condition began to deteriorate. She put her studies to one side and devoted herself to looking after her daughter.

“But I made it my goal to come back to University, not just to keep me going in life but also a tribute to Megan because it was the last thing, she remembered me doing and she was so proud of me,” said 41-year-old Emma, from Neath.

And her determination has paid off as she has just graduated with a 2:1 and has gone on to launch her own business in the wellness sector.

Now Emma has paid tribute to the University staff and her fellow students who helped her on her journey.

“The university was so supportive, financially and when it came to my wellbeing. I couldn’t be more grateful to be part of such an institution. It provided care during my bereavement and the support that allowed me to return to my studies after Megan passed away.”

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Keen photographer Megan was a talented footballer before she was became ill in 2015. After her initial diagnosis, she responded well to treatment, getting the all-clear in July 2017.

However, the following year she fell ill again and, despite specialist care in Cardiff, her condition deteriorated, and she died surrounded by her family.

Emma said: “I returned to university six months later. Many people told me that it was too soon, but I wanted to finish my degree for my daughter. I also wanted to show people that however hard life is you can achieve anything. Even in your darkest times there is always a light and if you keep looking at it, will eventually get brighter.

“Megan’s legacy of determination and strength lives on through me and everyone who knew her.”

Emma originally chose her course to expand her knowledge of digital marketing and business management in general.

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She said: “When I decided to become a mature student, I set out to get the most out of the course. I also wanted to fully immerse myself in university life, so I joined the Entrepreneurship Society and made some wonderful friends.”

She said the high standard of teaching and the learning style offered by the course was particularly enjoyable.

“I have been an entrepreneur since the age of 22 and seeing the investment the School of Management puts into that side of the course was inspirational.”

Nicki Suddell, Assessment and Awards Officer at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, said: “I would like to send huge congratulations to Emma for her incredible success with her degree outcome. Emma’s hard work and determination has paid off and I am delighted that we were able to support Emma throughout her studies and she has been able to achieve her goal.

“The University offers a variety of help and guidance, and it is fantastic when students fully engage with the support offered. I wish Emma all the best for the future.”

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Now Emma is looking to the future, thanks to her degree. “To help me cope with my grief, during my final two years at Swansea I trained to be a yoga teacher and coach so I can support other women going through similar struggles to mine and inspire them to achieve their dreams and goals.

“Through the knowledge gained at university, I now help women all over the world put strategies in place to create a fulfilling work and family life.

“A lifelong passion is finally a reality for me, and I wouldn’t have achieved it without the nurturing care and support of Swansea University.”

(Lead image: Swansea University)

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