Codie Farrell faced her first challenge at 13 when she was diagnosed with a vitamin b12 deficiency leaving her with migraines and hallucinations. Now the biomedical student and young mum, who has had two children whilst at Bolton University, has determined upon a career as a clinical scientist in haematology.

The University of Bolton has recently shined a spotlight on the resilient, hardworking and odds-defying alumnae within its ranks.

As an institution that states it “celebrates women’s achievements year-round”, it comes as little surprise the university has provided a place to thrive for women facing personal challenges as well as the societal hurdles still existent in the United Kingdom today.

Codie Farrell is one, as a mother-of-two who decided to go against the grain and work tirelessly to continue her biomedical degree, despite juggling childcare and facing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This was not the first challenge Codie faced; at the age of 13, she was diagnosed with a vitamin b12 deficiency with doctors around the world struggling to make sense of numerous blood samples. Now treated with vitamin b12 injections every 8 weeks, lest she start to experience hallucinations and migraines, Codie channelled her experience into a deep interest in haematology which now she hopes to study and help patients in the same way she was.

Upon graduation, Codie plans to complete a masters degree in haematology and transfusion science and from there hopes to be accepted to the STP course to become a biomedical scientist in haematology. After this, the sky’s the limit: the resilient and dedicated student wants to complete a higher specialist training programme which involves a gruelling 5 year work placement where you learn on the job. If she achieves her goal, she will be able to become a consultant clinical scientist in haematology.

These are lofty heights as recognised by Codie, who is the first person in her family to attend university.

Codie said: “When I started my degree I had a one year old son. The childcare grant payment system enabled me to send my son to nursery whilst I was studying as they pay a percentage of my childcare fees.

“My degree was full-time, but I believe that the timetabled sessions and the workload at the university is well organised and this enabled me to find a good balance between being a devoted, first time mum and also a student dedicated to becoming a graduate.”

Codie found out she was expecting a second child shortly before the first lockdown was announced which further strained an already-stretched young mother.

She continued: “The University of Bolton was great in providing a fast alternative to attending the campus and although it was a unique scenario for everyone to be suddenly studying via Zoom, the lecturers adapted immediately and there was extremely little disruption in regards to studying.”

September 2020 saw the arrival of Codie’s daughter which ramped up the pressure, now taking care of a 2 year-old and a newborn in the midst of a pandemic while undertaking a full-time medical biology degree. Yet she did not ever consider withdrawing.

“I believe that for me, completing my degree has given me independence, knowing that once qualified, I can provide for my children independently whilst being fortunate to have a career that thoroughly fascinates me and entails so much freedom.”