Association of Open University Graduates


Eva with her husband Nyssken Roberto
taken by Rokhaya-Maria

Awards for Regions and Nations 2014

Eva Coundoul – Europe

Eva was in her final module, after seven years of studying and one week before her final exam, when her seven year old daughter was diagnosed with epilepsy caused by a brain tumour and she needed to undergo an operation. Eva requested a postponement of her exam for a couple of months and focused on her daughter. She had her first brain surgery in August 2013 and everything went well. Two weeks later she was back on her feet and happy, as though nothing had ever happened. Eva was relieved and started to prepare for her exam again but one month after the surgery the epileptic attacks came back and in a worse way than before. For almost three months she had ten to fifteen attacks every day and they were uncontrollable. She was constantly in and out of hospital, struggling with terrible side effects from the medication. Only after a couple of months they managed to combine certain medication and lower her attacks to two to three times a day.  Eva still kept on preparing for her final exam as she did not want to lose all those years and was not ready to give up. Thanks to the strength of her daughter and to her tutor Marianna, who was on the phone every week, she managed to pass her final exam with Distinction. In December 2013 she was awarded a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in International Studies with politics. In March 2014 she attended the Degree Ceremony in London. She could proudly say that she was an OU Graduate and that despite all the difficulties she had had to face, she had achieved her goal. 

Since then her daughter has had her second operation. This time it was much more complex and unfortunately there was a post-operatory complication and she was paralysed on the left side of her body. She spent two months in a rehabilitation centre but luckily she has managed to recover almost all her movements. She is back at home with her family and trying to get back to her daily life, even though it will still take a long time until she recovers completely.