From education to employment

Farnborough Student Launches Leukaemia Campaign after her own Diagnosis

Farnborough Student Launches Leukaemia Campaign after her own Diagnosis

Jessica Sibthorpe, 21 originally from Tonbridge, has combined her own diagnosis of leukaemia with a passion for creative media by producing an awareness campaign as part of her degree.

The University Centre Farnborough student was diagnosed with leukaemia in the summer of 2015, while working in a media team at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships.

Doctors told Jessica her acute myeloid form of leukaemia would make it too difficult for her to continue her final year of Media Production degree at Farnborough.

Acute myeloid leukaemia is a rare type of cancer, with around 2,600 people diagnosed with it each year in the UK.  

At one stage, Jessica was too poorly to leave her hospital room and spent five weeks waiting for her immune system to strengthen enough before returning to a normal environment.

Despite her doctor’s advice, Jessica’s enthusiasm for her studies led her to continue working, but through distance learning; meaning she could access lecture notes and materials away from her classes via the internet.

Inspired by her experiences, Jessica had a great idea for her final year project while at hospital. She then began creating her awareness campaign, showcasing the skills she learnt during her degree and her flair for communication – all while seeking to help others learn more about leukaemia.

Jessica created a brand identity, website, television advert, radio adverts and a radio documentary to bring her message to a wide audience. Her campaign was launched on 25 April when she announced her plans to lecturers, classmates and friends – with the support of a special guest, Jade McShane, from the Teenage Cancer Trust.

You can visit Jessica’s website at, where there are links to all of her campaign.

Jessica said: “The best part of the campaign was the official launch. Getting my story out there – and for people to actually be engaged – was more than I hoped for.

“The hardest task was trying to get enough interest to start with. Public speaking is new to me too, so the launch event was quite daunting!

“The Teenage Cancer Trust were really supportive and provided a support coordinator, who was there for me the whole time.

“My tutor Anna was so supportive too; I wouldn’t have been able to come back to my degree, friends and be able to complete the qualification I need without her.

“Next, I want to continue my career in the television industry. My goal is to be a producer or production manager in a studio.”

Jessica’s Programme Manager, Anna Johnson, said: “Jessica is an extraordinary girl, with so much courage and determination. We did all we could to make it possible for her to continue, including providing media equipment at the hospital. She is an absolute inspiration.” 

Jessica is now clear of leukaemia and returns to hospital for check-ups and is looking forward to her career after graduating.

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