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Brave Kitty finds the art of success; ...despite two years' lost schooling.


A COURAGEOUS student who missed out on much of her education after contracting a rare flesh-eating disease has realised her ambition of going to university.

Aged just 15, Kitty Brame was one of only 2,000 people in Britain to contract Bechets Syndrome, an auto-immune condition causing inflammation to the blood vessels.

The chronic disease meant extensive stays in hospital where doctors battled to diagnose the incredibly rare syndrome.

But despite missing out on two full years of schooling, the Cleveland College of Art and Design photography student is now looking forward to university this year.

Kitty, now 17, said her issues began on a school trip to France aged 12 when she contracted a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in her leg. When the symptoms did not improve after six months, it became apparent that there were further problems.

After two years of trying to diagnose her condition, and with Kitty, of Northallerton, physically exhausted, specialists became involved and a diagnosis of Bechets was finally made.

The disease affects less than one in a million people in the UK and cannot be cured, only managed, and Kitty must visit the hospital regularly for checks.

Unsure of what to do after leaving school, Kitty went along to an open day at Cleveland College of Art and Design.

"Even though I didn't do art at school, I've always loved taking my own photographs and editing them on the computer and the thought of going to a specialist college really appealed to me," said Kitty.

"It was a massive step for me. I was still a bit of a loner and was extremely nervous going out on my own, but as soon as I walked through the doors at CCAD I felt at home.

"For the first time I felt as though I fitted in and even though I still had issues with anxiety and paranoia the tutors there couldn't have been nicer."

Kitty is now set to graduate from the Btec Extended Diploma in Graphic Design course at the Middlesbrough campus and has already been offered a place at Cumbria University, making her the first member of her family ever to go on to higher education.

"I would never have achieved what I have done without the help and support of CCAD," added Kitty.

"My tutor Chris Beadle is the most supportive person, outside of my parents, that I have ever known and he is a massive part of my life.

"He's given me the confidence to start believing in myself for the first time."

I've always loved taking my "own photographs and editing them on the computer and the thought of going to a specialist college really appealed to me- Cleveland College of Art and Design student Kitty Brame, pictured "
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Apr 4, 2013
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