A brave young woman who amazed doctors when she survived against the odds when she was born has landed her dream job after overcoming crippling illness.
Jade Boiling, 21, from Wrexham, is looking after elderly people thanks to a training programme launched by Pendine Park.
She was born with a catalogue of major health problems which took her to the verge of death within hours of her birth.
The prognosis was so bad that doctors told her parents she would not survive and her ventilator was switched off.
But Jade defied the odds and carried on breathing on her own.
She was still faced with huge medical problems, including a kidney transplant from her mother.
Jade eventually landed a place on the ground-breaking Step Into Care training programme started by Pendine Park which is aimed at equipping young people with the skills to find fulfilling work in the social care sector.
The scheme, commissioned by Communities for Work, is funded by the European Social Fund and through the Welsh Government Communities for Work Innovation Fund. The next programme starts on January 8.
After gaining an industry-recognised qualification, Jade is now in line for a permanent job as a care practitioner at Pendine Park’s Gwern Alyn home in Wrexham.
Soon after she was born, doctors discovered a benign tumour running through a large area of her body, including her spine, kidneys, heart and lungs. There was also a problem with her heart.
Jade said: “When I was less than a day old my parents were told that I wouldn’t survive, so it was decided to switch off the ventilator they’d put me on. But when they did, I started to breathe for myself.
“Because they weren’t able to detach the tumour from it they had to remove the lower part of my spine and coccyx bone.
“The damage done by the tumour meant I went on to have problems with my kidneys and had to have dialysis.
“I needed a transplant but I was on the list for about 10 years without a suitable donor being found.
“Then in 2007 my mum donated one of her own kidneys.
“Although I was much better after the transplant I still have problems with my health. Basically, a low immune system means I can catch anything.”
Jade was one of nine women from Wrexham who started on the second Step Into Care course in September.
The programme involves four-weeks of work experience during which there’s a combination of 10 days with the Pendine Academy of Social Care and another 10 days’ placement with one of their care homes.
Step Into Care is open to young people aged 16 to 24 not currently in education, employment or training and the aim is for those involved is to gain a City and Guilds Employability Skills qualification and practical experience in a care home.
At the end of the placement, there’s a job interview and the possibility of gaining permanent employment with Pendine Park.
Jade was one of six young women who successfully graduated the course, five of whom have found work at Pendine homes in Wrexham.
Joining the team at Hillbury House are Megan Nicholas, 22, and India Roberts, 18, while starting at Highfield House are Hanna Clegg and Laura Thomas, both 22. The sixth graduate, 22-year-old Lauren Jones, has a job at another care home in the area.
Jade has nothing but praise for Step Into Care and the opportunities it has opened up for her.
“I’m doing what I’ve always wanted and that’s working in a caring profession. “At the moment I’m working as and when required at Gwern Alyn, which I really love, and I’ve been placed top of the list for a permanent job when one comes up.
“I spent so much time in hospitals watching nurses work I decided that’s what I’d like to do one day. The grounding I’m receiving will help me to achieve that.
“Although I’m much better I still have problems with my health and can fall ill at any time but everyone at Gwern Alyn knows this and are always ready to help me.
“The staff also help me with my dyslexia.”
Michelle Williamson, a senior care practitioner at Gwern Alyn who is Jade’s team leader and mentor, said: “We’re delighted to have her here. She’s friendly, eager to do the job and you can see her confidence building up all the time. The residents she cares for all love her.”