Bristol Uni student earns Master’s while caring for terminally ill mother


By Emilie Robinson, Digital News Editor

Michelle Mounsdon has achieved her Neuroscience and Education Master’s at the same time as providing 24-hour care for her terminally ill mother.

Mounsdon expressed that she hoped sharing her ‘unimaginable life experiences’ would inspire and help others to get through tough times.

Aged 40, after a varied career path, Michelle Mounsdon decided to follow her dream of becoming a child psychologist.

However, after being accepted onto her Master’s course at the University of Bristol, Mounsdon was informed that her mother had grown critically ill.

Michelle was forced to juggle long days looking after her mother, Sheila, as her main carer, while also completing University work in the evening and the early mornings.

Mounsdon said, ‘In the time it took from accepting my place to commencing the course my mum had been diagnosed with lung cancer, after she had been in remission from bladder cancer for several years.

‘It meant sleepless night, endless trips to hospital and all the other support and care that my mum needed- I lived with her so it was a full-time job in itself.

‘You don’t know how you do it, but you just find a way. It’s amazing what a human can do when push comes to shove-and some juggle far more than I have’.

Mounsdon highlighted that she had had ‘support from some amazing friends and family members and my supervisor at the Uni, Dr Rafael Mitchell, was beyond incredible.

‘It really is possible to get through unimaginable life experience if you have something that helps you remain focussed and grounded. For me it was the goal of achieving my Master’s - initially as a positive incentive for my mum to keep fighting and then as a personal achievement for me to make her proud.’

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Upon receiving her results Mounsdon said that she could ‘just remember looking out the window and bursting into tears, saying “I did it mum’’’.

Michelle has decided to next pursue a PhD following a year off from study.

Featured Image: Epigram / University of Bristol