Keah Donlon, a Health and Social Care student at Wiltshire College & University Centre, has been recognised for her amazing work as a young carer by being named as one of BBC Radio 1’s Teen Heroes.
Keah, who studies Level 3 Health and Social Care, at the College’s Trowbridge campus, was announced as a winner live on Radio 1 Breakfast by presenter Greg James on Tuesday morning as fellow presenter Charlie Hedges turned up at her house with the surprise news.
The 18-year-old will now host Friday morning’s show with Greg and the four other Teen Heroes who are being recognised throughout the week.
Each year Radio 1 celebrates some Teen Heroes – young people who make the world a better place – and Keah is truly deserving of the accolade for her incredible perseverance in tragic circumstances.
Keah’s mum suffered a brainstem bleed in 2019. While she was in the ICU, Keah’s father sadly passed away after a long illness.
Since then, Keah has dedicated her life to helping others. She cares for her mum at home and also works part-time in a local care home helping young people with brain injuries as well as supporting other young carers in the area.
Keah explained: “My mum suffered a bleed on the brain in 2019 and then suffered with pneumonia and nearly died. After she came out of hospital, I became her full-time carer as she needed a lot of help.
“During that time, my dad also passed away, but I managed to get through it. The College have been very helpful. They are really good and very understanding.
“I’m enjoying my studies and I would like to be some sort of nurse. It would be nice to work in the community.”
Among Keah’s other gifts and surprises included a message from former One Direction star Niall Horan and a special scene featuring some of the cast of BBC TV hospital drama Holby City, who highlighted some of her amazing work in the care sector.
Keah said: “I was really surprised to see them at the door, it was a bit overwhelming. I’m still in a bit of shock and I am not sure what to expect on Friday but being on the radio is definitely going to be something different.”
Keah was nominated by her aunt, Alison, who told Radio 1: “Keah’s life was turned upside down in 2019 and suddenly she became her mother’s carer. Keah has somehow stayed in college and also works part-time in a care home to help support herself and her mother.
“Keah has developed into an amazing young woman, who is caring, compassionate, funny and has a strong social conscience. I think she is incredible and deserves all the recognition this award will give her.”
Dale Bond, Deputy Head of Department for Health & Life Sciences at the College, said: “Everyone at Wiltshire College & University Centre is incredibly proud of Keah and this is wonderful recognition for everything she does.
“Keah has shown incredible resilience and perseverance in really difficult circumstances. She never complains, continues to give her absolute all to her studies and is an outstanding role model to her peers.
“She is kind, compassionate and generous – everything you need to excel when working in the health and care sector.”
For more information on the College’s Health and Social Care courses, visit https://www.wiltshire.ac.uk/our-departments/health-and-social-care.
For more information on the College’s Health and Social Care courses, click here.