Scholarship Helps Ease the Stress of New Diagnosis

Talya Foden

Taylah Foden is not letting a new challenge like epilepsy stop her from pursuing a lifelong dream to work with animals.

The 21-year-old is halfway through her New Zealand Certificate in Animal Technology (Level 5) - Veterinary Nursing Assistant strand, and is one of eight students who each received a $1000 Toi Ohomai Study Award this year.

The scholarship has gone a long way to cover essential costs, like textbooks, as Taylah takes a break from work while her medical team figures out how to manage the focal seizures she first started experiencing a year ago. Taylah’s situation has been further complicated by a recent diagnosis of type 1 diabetes.

But Taylah wants to keep moving forward, and the childhood she spent on a small lifestyle block is driving her future plans.

“Working in a vet clinic has been my dream job, ever since I was a kid. I’ve grown up in Reporoa, with farms and animals everywhere.”

“We’ve got eight cats, three dogs and a rabbit at home, and my Mum and I volunteered at the Taupō SPCA for a few years.”

Taylah studied the New Zealand Certificate in Animal Care (Level 3) at Toi Ohomai in Rotorua last year, before committing to this year’s level 5 course at the Institute’s Tauranga campus. She intends to work in a vet clinic when she completes the course, but is also considering diploma level study further down the track.

“I like everything about animals, but cats are my favourite animals. I can see myself in some of my cats, in a way. They can be affectionate but they also like to be independent.”