Despite the challenges she's faced, Korina Valentine looks forward to a future of helping others.
Finishing an educational course is always a great achievement, but for the Yerrinbool local the milestone is just another part of an incredible story of resilience and determination.
The 29-year-old mother-of-two was struck down with sepsis in April 2015, and was in a critical condition for the following 10 months. Despite requiring multiple amputations, Korina bravely fought the disease and, against all the odds, survived.
Having studied through TAFE Riverina, Korina was given the Education Pathways award for Outstanding Commitment to Studies at the Tumut Campus graduation on December 5, after completing Certificate III in Education Support by distance study.
She described her health as “up-and-down”, but was characteristically upbeat.
“The family is doing great, it’s great to be home with the kids and my husband and we have a great support network,” she said.
Korina commenced her studies at TAFE in July 2014 but had to put the course on hold when she became seriously ill – but always planned to complete the course.
“I was really enjoying the course and I was so close to finishing before I got sick that I wanted to see it through,” she said.
“It has been quite emotionally and physically difficult and frustrating to complete the course.
“But I am very proud of my achievements with what I have overcome in the last 18 months.”
Teacher Robyn MacRae said Korina was a worthy recipient of the award.
“From early on it was evident Korina was an outstanding student who also had all of the attributes that would enable her to become a highly valued education support worker,” she said.
After the battle of her life, Korina has now faced a new set of challenges. After some time and with courage and support from family and friends, Korina made the decision to recommence her studies.
“Her resilience skills are outstanding, she is a truly inspirational story of courage and determination.”
The charity ‘Reaching 4 Korina’ was set up to raise funds for the expensive prosthetics and medical aids Korina requires. For more information about the charity or to donate, visit www.reaching4korina.com.au