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MSJ 2016 Leaver

As a student, India excelled in her studies, but MSJ also helped develop the things she found harder: team sport, socialising and public speaking. In Year 13, a Prefect with A* predictions, a player on the 1st Netball Team and holding an offer to study Chemistry at St Andrews University, India was diagnosed with brain cancer.

Subsequent surgery paralysed India down the right hand side and left her unable to speak, read or write. She was however, fully cognisant and consequently aware of her deficit. Bravely accepting the unimaginable, India applied herself to her rehabilitation; many of the important lessons she had learnt at MSJ aiding her progress. With dogged determination she learnt to walk again. Harnessing the dedication and diligence she had applied to GCSEs, she redeveloped her literacy skills. Using grit and resilience, India regained her voice and all the while, she displayed a remarkable composure and acceptance of her circumstances.

She compiled a bucket list involving skydiving for charity, having a tattoo, travelling to several countries, planning her funeral, making a short film and (most importantly to her) arranging for her posthumous body to be accepted for scientific research. India acknowledged her fate and wanted loved ones to enjoy the time they had left with her. She wrote letters ‘for afterwards’ to relations and listed possessions she wanted to be distributed amongst friends and family.

Several months after India died, her parents received an email from Bristol University Bequest Office naming her as the youngest body donor in the UK. They wrote, “It is unusual for a person who is so young, to consider body donation. The majority of our donors are much older, or have worked in Science backgrounds throughout their lives, but India came to a decision about body donation that most donors consider over some time. She clearly had a spirit of generosity and forethought beyond her years.” 

India’s life should have been much longer, but in her few years she graciously captivated all MSJ aspires to. She was courageous, unique, committed, conscientious; a truly exceptional individual. And in the end, she made a difference to Science, as she had dreamed that she might.

India’s film can be found on YouTube and is called ‘Inside My Head’.

Advice (from her video): “Always be kind, because we never know what’s inside someone’s head.”

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