A Coventry University graduate has completed her degree while fighting cancer.

Karen Bucknall, from Solihull, had to finish her sociology degree alongside her battle with bowel cancer.

Being diagnosed with the horrible condition half-way through her studies, Karen had to write her dissertation on the chemotherapy ward in hospital while being treated.

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Karen said she wanted to complete the degree in memory of loved ones she’s lost.

“I was determined to complete my degree in memory of the friends and family who I’ve sadly lost to cancer, and to make my university and lecturers proud,” she said.

The aspiring sports journalist had to ask for many extensions on her assignments but said the support from university staff was brilliant.

“The sociology department, the lecturers, the disability centre, my disability advisor Sam, the administration team who helped me out when I had to apply for extensions, even the library team – everyone was really kind,” she added.



Karen rang the bell after she was given the all-clear
Karen rang the bell after she was given the all-clear

Karen also joined the university’s radio station, Phoenix Radio, to focus on her media passion. She had her own show and was trained to be a presenter and a radio journalist.

Karen continued: “Student radio with Phoenix Radio at Coventry University was absolutely amazing. I loved every minute and it actually helped take my mind off the cancer and the treatment I was undergoing.

“I feel as though working with Phoenix Radio helped to shape who I am today and it kick-started what is now a passion and a really exciting career for me.”

This led to her being crowned ‘breaking into news regional winner’ by ITV Central back in 2019, and she’s looking forward to covering the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

She now wants to help others and has completed a cancer awareness and counselling course with the aim to support those going through the same struggles.

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