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Yasmine Haq

County Durham, UK

(MPharm) Pharmacy

The last 18 months have been a rollercoaster of emotion for Yasmine Haq after her mum Denise was diagnosed with cancer and lost her battle just weeks before Yasmine graduated. Yasmine showed such resolve during the last months of her degree that lecturers nominated her for a graduation award - the Jemma O'Sullivan Award for Care and Compassion in the Practice of Pharmacy. Yasmine has begun her pre-registration year at Eilbeck Deneside pharmacy, working alongside her father.

The lecturers were amazing, they were so kind and understanding and gave me so much support every step of the way. The life-long friends I made on the course were always there for me too, whether it was taking down notes or just updating me on what was happening I never felt alone and can’t thank them all enough for getting me through one of the most difficult times of my life.

I didn’t want mum to give up fighting cancer, so I couldn’t give up either, even though there were days when I just thought I couldn’t carry on. She was so frightened at times and I knew I had to get the job done for her. The morning before she died I was sat in the hospice revising until 2am, by 10.30am she had passed away with me and my sister Nadia at her side, she was just 55 years old.

I don’t know how I would have coped without the support of my lecturers. I pushed myself and am proud to have walked away with a 2:2. My mum always wanted me to have my own career, and that’s why I kept going. It’s great to be working alongside my dad, he’s so proud of what I’ve achieved. He was happier about my results than I actually was. We have all been through so much together since mum’s diagnosis. I have had to do so much growing up.

Pharmacy really runs through our family. My mam was a dispenser when she met my dad after they began working together all those years ago. I hope all I have achieved is making a difference. Everyone knows someone close to them affected by cancer, I hope my story offers comfort and support to another family going through the same thing. 

My mum had never been ill in her life, but she started losing weight and suffered menopausal symptoms, then a minor procedure to her bowel picked up the rare form of liver cancer, she may have had a chance had it been picked up earlier. I would say to anyone showing similar symptoms to get themselves checked as early as possible."


Dr Adrian Moore, Head of School: Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Sunderland, said: “Yasmine fully deserves this award, she has been through so much over these last 18 months, coping with her mum’s cancer diagnosis.

“She showed incredible resilience, and we were all hugely impressed by her determination to complete her course while caring for her mum.

“Thanks must also go to our students on this course who are all very close-knit and really supported Yasmine in the months leading up to graduation.”

The Jemma O'Sullivan Award for Care and Compassion in the Practice of Pharmacy is presented each year to a graduate who has demonstrated these qualities during their degree course. Jemma O’ Sullivan was just 22 when she was killed in a motorway crash in 2010.

To mark a lasting legacy for Jemma, her parents Vincent and Margaret, sponsor this special award, presented during the graduation ceremonies at the Stadium of Light.

Published 18 September 2019

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