First, thank you so much for even looking at this page. I'm not sure how to go about this, but I thought I at least owed it to myself to give this a try. It's incredibly hard to ask like this, I'm well aware that you are all hardworking, intelligent people. I just wanted to say before you read on, whether you decide to give or not, thank you for your generosity towards the projects on this site.
A little bit of background on me: my name is Eliza, I am currently in my second year at the University of Westminster studying Illustration and Visual Communication. My dream is to go onto become a prop maker, and work in the art departments of film and TV and eventually own a succesful prop making company.
I have always supported myself while studying, since I was 16 I have worked along side learning. I firmly believe in providing for myself and working hard to achieve my dreams. I've been struggling for just over a year and someone told me that this site existed, so I thought if nothing else I should at least try.
My mum works extremley hard as a senior radiotherapist in Scotland (where I am from). She raised myself and my two sisters on her own and taught me everything I know and the values that I hold. She is my rock. However in December 2012 she was diagnosed with severe Ankylosing Spondylitis. Which is a degenerative back condition, it is a type of progressive arthritis that leads to chronic inflammation of the spine and sacroiliac joints. This caused the top three sections of her spine to fuse together as the bones grew out of place, as a result of this she also had two prolapsed disks. She was in agony 24/7, I watched my incredibly beautiful and strong mother become a shell of herself in a few short months. Never having seen anyone in this amount of pain constantly, yet she refused to stop working. I guess she didnt really have a choice as she had two 16 year olds and a 13 year old to look after. We have no extended family and my father is not around. My mum was given a spinal block to help control the nerve pain but unfortunatley the doctor who treated her, did not read her notes and injected this into the muscles of her back instead of her spine causing more pain.
To cut a long story short, it was pretty hard going for a while. Eventually she had to undergo serious surgery to try and correct one of the disks in her back. This has helped manage the pain, however she will need a further two operations in the future. We are all aware that her body will not be able to with stand the trauma of the next two surgerys as they are so invasive, so she is trying to avoid these as long as possible. Meaning that any stress she is under is detrimental to her physical condition. She still works now to support us while myself and my sisters are at uni (Westminster, Oxford and St. Andrews), her job is incredibly stressful and demanding as she manages a poorly staffed department.
As I have worked through second year, the work load has become so much that I had to give up my part time job. I'm still trying to find as many paid briefs to illustrate as I can handle as they both pay and contribute to my modules at university. I will always try and find some way to try and support myself, I am very sensible with money, if I can lessen my mums stress and work load in anyway I will obviously do whatever I can.
Knowing that my mum is working so hard, constantly. It is a huge anxiety for me and my sisters, as we want as much time with her as possible. I know that in the long run once I have graduated and I am able to get a job with a good salary, she will finally retire. But I'm asking for the next year and a half of uni, if anyone is able to give even £5 towards helping me with the cost of living while at university. I would be unbelievably grateful. At the moment I am left with £45 a week on food, utilities and any extra course costs. This is incredibly tight, I don't have an issue at all about not going out with friends or socialising, I will give up whatever I can over the next 18 months to make things work as I know once I graduate it will be different. But if you are able to help, know that it would absolutley mean the world to me.