Resilience earns $5000 scholarship for determined teen who overcame serious illness

SUCCESS: Ronald McDonald House Canberra CEO Michelle McCormack with scholarship winner Clare Barclay at RMH Orange. Photo: DAVID FITZSIMONS 0430dfclare1
SUCCESS: Ronald McDonald House Canberra CEO Michelle McCormack with scholarship winner Clare Barclay at RMH Orange. Photo: DAVID FITZSIMONS 0430dfclare1

Clare Barclay’s life as a teenager and high school student was thrown into disarray when she was diagnosed with a serious disease.

“I got sick in 2015, March 15, 16, pancreatitis,” she said.

“At first it didn’t really mean anything.”

But as it developed her life was turned on its head.

“As it just kept going on I didn’t have much of a social life,” she said.

She was treated at Sydney’s Westmead Hospital and her family from Mullion Creek stayed at its Ronald McDonald House (RMH).

This week the Orange High School student’s determination and resilience which saw her complete her Higher School Certificate last year and overcome her illness was rewarded.

She was awarded the Charlie Bell Scholarship, a $5000 boost to her tertiary studies, with the award named after a former McDonalds Corporation CEO.

Ms Barclay said she would do business administration and nursing courses through TAFE in the pursuit of work.

She said she had an ambition to work as a nurse in Mexico and Vanuatu to help people there.

HAPPY TEAM: Ronald McDonald House's Michelle McCormack and Rebecca Walsh with Clare Barclay, dad Heath, brother Jack and mum Gloria. Photo: DAVID FITZSIMONS 0430dfclare2

HAPPY TEAM: Ronald McDonald House's Michelle McCormack and Rebecca Walsh with Clare Barclay, dad Heath, brother Jack and mum Gloria. Photo: DAVID FITZSIMONS 0430dfclare2

Her scholarship was awarded by the board of the Canberra chapter of RMH who received her nomination through the Orange chapter.

Canberra RMH CEO Michelle McCormack said they had identified Ms Barclay as a deserving scholarship recipient.

“It was her determination and tenacity to be able to complete her education while going through the illness and the complications going with it,” she said.

Mrs McCormack said Ms Barclay had undertaken 40 hours of learning programs at RMH.

RMH Orange CEO Rebecca Walsh said Ms Barclay had overcome pain to complete her studies.

“Despite her debilitating illness while still at school Ms Barclay threw herself into her study and also achieved great success as a dance student performing is eisteddfods, and also performing with her dance school Stepping Out Dance Factory at Disneyland and Universal Studios in the US,” she said.

“The scholarship is designed to encourage and support young people who have excelled at school with the assistance of RMH learning programs and allowed them to look towards a bright future.”

Ms Barclay’s mum Gloria, dad Heath and brother Jack attended the scholarship presentation at RMH Orange on Monday.

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