Graduation was an extra-special occasion for our Digital Marketing Manager, Niall Parfitt this month, as joining him was his one-year-old son Niall Jnr, who has successfully recovered from open heart surgery.
In 2014, halfway through his MSc in Organisation and Management, with Queen’s Management School, Niall’s son, Niall Jnr, was born with Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (a serious heart defect).
Niall Snr, said: “I will never forget staying in hospital overnight, with Niall Jnr in an incubator, with my study notes, an iPad and marketing books and thinking this is absolutely crazy.”
Following a month in the Royal Victoria Hospital, Niall Jnr was flown by air ambulance to undergo open heart surgery in Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital in London.
Speaking about his experience, Niall, said:
“The experience was a complete nightmare but we had an enormous amount of support from the Children’s Heartbeat Trust and families who have been through similar experiences.
“The nurses and consultants were unbelievable, and what helped us a lot was that a number of the consultants we dealt with in Belfast and London were actually graduates from Queen’s School of Medicine.”
Thankfully, Niall Jr’s operation was a complete success and Niall was able to return to complete his studies. Niall says he found the theoretical and practical learnings of his course ideally suited to his current role as Digital Marketing Manager at Acheson + Glover. He said:
“To get my Msc is one of the biggest achievements of my life. Not just to do with the qualification, but the challenges I encountered along the way. It has been, without a shadow of a doubt, the most eventful and emotional journey of my life.”
You can read more about Niall's story on the Queen's University Belfast website.