A Woman With Locked-In Syndrome Just Passed A Degree By Blinking

Former teacher Dawn Faizey Webster suffered a stroke and now can’t walk, talk, or use her limbs. But that didn’t stop her passing a degree in ancient history using a specially designed laptop that responds to her blinks.

1. Dawn Faizey Webster, 42, was 30 years old when she suffered a catastrophic and life-changing stroke, soon after the birth of her son, Alexander.

Newsteam / SWNS Group

She was left with almost complete paralysis, and can only only communicate through slight head movements, blinks, and eye twitches.

2. She’s pictured here shortly after giving birth to Alexander, who weighed just 1lb 8oz.

Newsteam / SWNS Group

She gave birth via emergency caesarian section after contracting pre-eclampsia, a condition affecting pregnant women with high blood pressure.

Although she was told she would be fine and was sent home, her blood pressure remained high, and two weeks later she suffered her stroke.

3. Here she is at 27. After her stroke she was told she was suffering from locked-in syndrome, which means that someone is mentally well but can’t communicate.

Newsteam / SWNS Group

Of the horror of not being able to speak, she says: “They would talk to me, talk to one another and to the nurses… But all I could do was lie there hopelessly watching them, listening for snippets of news about how Alexander was.

“For long hours, I lay staring up at a blank ceiling, living for visiting hours when at least I could hear my family’s chatter. Inside I cried, but no tears came out. When people saw me, they had no idea I was as wide awake as ever.”

4. This is what makes Webster, from Rugeley in Staffordshire, one of the most remarkable students graduating from university this summer, with a 2:2 degree in ancient history.

Newsteam / SWNS Group

5. She types at a speed of 50 words per hour using buttons on both sides of a specially designed headrest to move the cursor backwards and forwards, and blinking to select letters.

Newsteam / SWNS Group

6. Pictured here with her mum and dad, Shirley and Alec, Webster began the degree six years ago and worked for three hours a day.

Newsteam / SWNS Group

She tells MailOnline: “When I passed my degree, I was so pleased and proud of myself. I had achieved my goal that I had for six years been striving for.

“No matter what obstacles were in my way, such as getting pneumonia twice and other lesser illnesses, I was determined to reach my goal. When I first had my stroke, I realised I would not be able to do anything physical.

“I then decided to use the thing that had not been affected and that was my brain.”

7. The graduate says she is now looking forward to tackling an MA course in history of art.

Newsteam / SWNS Group

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