Amy Beaumont was heading for a career in ecology and the environment – until the day her mother Samantha suffered a devastating stroke.
“I watched my mum’s remarkable rehabilitation with a neuro-physiotherapist and other specialists and realised I had to switch careers and do something in healthcare – to help others.”
Amy, 22 and from Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, had already been accepted on an ecology course at another university but later declined the offer to pursue her new goal.
She applied to five universities to study physiotherapy but was rejected by them all: “This was a real setback but then a friend Richard Handford who happens to be our family podiatrist suggested I might like podiatry.
“I confess I had reservations about the idea, thinking that podiatry was all about verrucas, but Richard reassured me. I shadowed his clinic, looked at two other podiatry clinics and attended a College of Podiatry meeting.
“I soon realised podiatry had so much more scope and I learned about the real impact lower limbs have on daily functions.
“I was fascinated to learn more; especially regarding helping people improve their quality of life, like the physiotherapist had done with my mother.”
Amy was hooked. She studied Podiatry BSc(Hons) at the University of Brighton and her enthusiasm for the subject grew throughout her three-year course. Her dedication led to her being nominated to be the Representative of the College of Podiatry Student Association and it allowed her to set up a Podiatry Society at the university, the first in five years.
Amy said: “This had a positive impact on the podiatry student’s retention and united all the classes together, forming a real sense of community.
“If you told me four years ago that I would be graduating from the University of Brighton with a First Degree in Podiatry I would not have believed you.
“Despite my initial hesitation, I can now say that choosing to study Podiatry was the best decision I’ve made to date.
“Not only has it given me the chance to help people daily, it has given me a career, friends for life and a real sense of purpose.”
Amy now has jobs at two podiatry clinics close to her home, at Enfield at Supplefeet and in Saffron Walden at The Foot Health Clinic, but added: “The best news is that mum is making a great recovery.”
Main photo – Amy Beaumont and her mum Samantha