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Read the remarkable true account of illness, bullying and recovery from one brave girl. Jennifer is 16 next month and despite the last few years of illness and bullying Jennifer is determined to have a career in the aviation industry perhaps even a pilot one day. She Who Dares Wins is so proud of her determination.


I never thought I’d get where I am today”

Since 2016 a variety of illnesses have taken an effect on me.

Throughout this I have developed anxiety and I struggled with bullying.

This had a large effect on my confidence and had a large effect on my social life.

All of the illnesses have had a bad aftermath which makes things hard for me physically.

This has also affected my school attendance largely and I’m currently still behind in work which is affecting upcoming exams.

The first experience of the start of one of the first illnesses was when I noticed a small scabbed rash on my right collar bone.

At the time my mum said that the rash was probably just an allergic reaction to a perfume.

A couple of days went by and I started to get a temperature and look pale, I felt weak; almost like I was incapable of doing anything.

I was taken to A & E and was diagnosed with shingles. I was off school for around a month and limited what I could do.

This was at the time that the 2016/17 football season had started. I have grown up with the football and have been going to football games for 8 years now and this season was important for the team I support – because we had just came down from the top league which is the premiership down to the championship.

I made a pact with my Aunt that I would go to every game I could, but that never happened.

Having such a passion for football is something I will always have, and not being able to go was heartbreaking.

I ended up not going to any games until March 2017 and I missed a lot of big games which made me feel really gutted and heartbroken.

Throughout this time I was being bullied.

This is where I developed anxiety.

I got back into school but would go to the wellbeing base instead of classes. It made me feel a lot better about going back into school.

I struggled with friendships a lot and I was scared to go to school but being in the wellbeing base has allowed me to create strong relationships with some of the kids my age who go there.

Around a month after having shingles I caught re-occurring tonsillitis. I had had tonsillitis when I was younger in primary 6.

This took a lot of time out of my schooling and I found it hard to get back into school again.

After having tonsillitis in 2016 this made me physically worn out. I returned to school and struggled to catch on the big amounts of work I had missed and I struggled to catch up on it.

As 2017 started I was still really struggling.

I had been very nervous to return to school after the Christmas holidays because of bullying which triggered my anxiety. A couple of weeks into the new year I had a really sore throat and gland pains. I was taken to the doctors and given blood tests, the tests came back and I had glandular fever and bronchitis.

It turns out I had had glandular fever since I had shingles.

Glandular fever had the biggest effect on me. It gave me extreme tiredness which still affects me today. Glandular fever limited what I could do.

All I could do was lay on the sofa, sleep or watch Netflix. Sleeping is something really important for me, because if I don’t get around eight to nine hours sleep my body won’t function.

So that’s why it’s crucial for me to have a sleeping pattern. I was off school with glandular fever for around eleven weeks.

When I recovered I would start school at 10am so I could sleep for longer. This helped me a lot but I did struggle when I had to start back at 9am.

As fourth year has started I have had some ups and downs. I have missed out on work. This affected my work up until my prelims. I still struggle with extreme tiredness but I am now able to do more at weekends due to the fact I haven’t experienced any illness.

I had a lot of trouble making friends, but as last year has come on I have made lots of good friends in and out of school.

I never thought I would get to where I am today. Anxiety is something that still affects me today.

I take my mind off my anxiety by plane spotting.

I’m really interested in aviation photography and aviation itself, and I have made great friends through this and one day I aspire to be a pilot.

Looking back on the time when I didn’t have many friends makes me proud of how far I’ve came.

I was always too scared to talk to new people and I wouldn’t try to become friends with anyone, but I’ve overcame this.

I’ve met people who I talked to on social media for a while and are interested in aviation who I go spotting with and I’ve became really close friends with them.

I’m very proud of myself for taking a big step to go to Edinburgh to meet them.

As I have overcome all of the sickness, I have developed good friendships and have gained confidence in myself. But one person I couldn’t have done without with is Mrs Wallace.

From the first day I came back to school from having shingles she has supported me and has continued to do that up until today.

I’m grateful for Mrs Wallace and all the continuous support she gives me.

Without Mrs Wallace and the wellbeing base I don’t think I would have come back to school.

Another person I couldn’t have done all of this without is my mum. She has given me so much support and I’m so lucky to have a mum like her.