My name is Leeanne, and I studied Skills for Life, Childcare and progressed onto Tourism. I am proud of how hard I have worked and with what I have achieved. I was born with mild cerebral palsy, to parents who had a lot of problems. With such a difficult start in life I ended up as a young carer to my younger siblings and later found myself in the care system.
However, I tried to remain positive and determined to make life better for myself. I began my studies in 2013 as a full-time student at Fife College. This is where I flourished, gaining the support of my lecturers who saw my potential and abilities.
When I attended Fife College, it allowed to me to write my story.
It was here where I shared my true feelings and experiences for the first time as part of an assignment. I hadn’t realised how much of an impact my story had, until my lecturers cried as they read it. My lecturer suggested I should write my autobiography.
My carers and my local church also encouraged me to write and the Scottish Commission for Learning Disability (SCLD) helped by part funding my book. It was a great feeling that I had so much support, and when my book, My Journey Through Life: The Real Me, was published it was the proudest day of my life.
The main message of my book is that everyone is unique and important, and we all need to understand that different can be great. I hope that by making people aware of my experiences I’ll help others who have been in a similar situation to myself. If they can see someone like me now, getting on in life with an education and full-time job, maybe they might believe there is a chance for them to do the same.
Another highlight for me was being presented with a lifetime Fellowship of the Royal Society Arts because of the work on my book. I am now an ambassador for those who are care-experienced and for young carers, and I help others through my charity and church work.
Coming to college was certainly a turning point for me and I’ll always be grateful to my lecturers for their help and support.