DURING her life Zara Roberts has had to contend with the devastating impact of a car crash which tore open a main artery.
She also broke a collar bone just days before becoming an Olympic torchbearer as she studied for her degree in Wrexham.
But the Glyndwr University student took such setbacks in her stride and yesterday marked the latest milestone in her quest to become a teacher.
Zara, of Llangollen, suffered life-threatening injuries in April 2004 when a burst tyre on her car caused a horrific collision with another vehicle.
The multiple injuries she sustained included a punctured lung, bleeding on the brain and a torn aorta, the main artery in the body.
Three years after life-saving surgery and with speech and memory difficulties, Zara returned to study, later progressing to Glyndwr University’s foundation degree in Learning Support: Teaching and Learning.
Determined also to continue with her passion for competitive sport, Zara qualified to train with the Welsh disability cycling team for the 2012 Paralympic games – only to break her collarbone on a velodrome track shortly before she was due to carry the Olympic torch.
Undeterred, she continued with both her studying and carrying the flame.
A year on, teaching assistant Zara has graduated, having already secured a place on a top-up education degree course which will help her move closer to achieving her dream of becoming a teacher.
Zara said: “Commitment made me decide to carry on. It’s been a tough three years of study but I wanted to show everyone you can go on and achieve, you can go on to university and study for a degree, no matter what happens to you in life.”
Zara studied on the foundation degree one day a week while working as a teaching assistant at St Christopher’s School in Wrexham and has now secured a position at Ysgol Bryn Collen in Llangollen and is working towards a full education degree.
“Working and studying was a piece of cake,” said Zara. “It was a challenge, but life is a challenge.
“I want to become a teacher and I’m looking forward to studying again over the coming year."