A triumph of the heart (and an award)

February 12, 2016 by
Blog, Health   No Comments Yet

Dawn Faizey-Webster is a remarkable woman who I was lucky enough to interview in 2014 for the Daily Telegraph. Last night, that account was commended in the Guild of Health Writers Award, which was really pleasing.

Faizey-Webster_2996073bOf course, it is nice to get recognised by your peers for your work, but mostly it gives me a chance to highlight her story one more time.

Dawn  has Locked-In Syndrome; she cannot speak or move much more than a slight lift and turn of the neck, or control more than her intensely expressive left eye, and its immediate facial muscles. Yet she has wit and warmth, and her intelligence is undimmed.  When we spoke,  Dawn had just been awarded a 2:2 honours degree in history, a course she studied painstakingly over six years, using a sophisticated computer programme that picks up words when she stares at them for a sufficient number of seconds.

In addition, she has a laptop that can be controlled by subtle head movements, allowing her to use the internet, send email and do her academic research online. She can type at a rate of about 50 words an hour. Each three-hour exam took her three weeks to complete. Her plans were then for an MA in history of Art, followed by a PhD.

Dawn has the most amazing family too: Alec, 80, Shirley, 75, and little brother Mark, 54; plus her son Alexander, now 14.

Stories like hers stay with you, as they should. My commendation is simply another tribute to her candour and confidence.

 

 

 

 

About the Author

Victoria Lambert has been a journalist for more than 20 years, and specialises in health and medical matters. She writes for the Telegraph, the Times, the Sunday Times, the Guardian, the Mail and the Mail on Sunday. She contributes to Saga, Geographical and First Eleven magazines – where she is the agony aunt.

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