Graduate with incurable condition helps to amplify national charity campaignTuesday, 8 August, 2023
Tegan Vincent-Cooke, a 22-year-old BA (Hons) Film, TV and Digital Production graduate from Bath Spa University with an uncontrollable and unpredictable neurological condition that causes her entire body to spasm has backed a charity’s call to urge the Government to establish a Neuro Taskforce.
As a baby, Tegan Vincent-Cooke, who is originally from Bristol, was diagnosed with dystonic cerebral palsy, an incurable condition which causes involuntary muscle contractions and movements.
Having completed her degree at Bath Spa University earlier this month, Tegan is now embarking on life post-university. She has excelled in her studies which has taken significant determination - Tegan’s condition causes hypertonia, involuntary postures and movements, and often interferes with function, positioning and causes pain and disrupted sleep.
Her experience has prompted her to support a new campaign for others just like her, launched by The Neurological Alliance, which is calling on the Government to bring about much needed change for people affected by neurological conditions.
“A lot of support is very medical. I’m seen by an NHS neurology team every year or so to check up on how I’m doing and my medication as I’m on lots of hardcore medication. However, there needs to be more support focussed on exercise and movement and the mental health side of things, not necessarily counselling, but it would be helpful to have someone to talk to when I need it. I support the charity because they support change by speaking up and helping individuals, that’s why I got involved.”
Commenting on her time at Bath Spa, Tegan – who is also an International Para Dressage Rider – continued:
“I enjoyed my course, but I’m also an athlete, so I had to balance my studies while committing to my sport which was particularly challenging in my final year. My favourite thing about Bath and Bath Spa are the buildings and the countryside, thankfully they offered me the perfect, calm surroundings to escape it all.”
Calling for change
In June this year, The Neurological Alliance handed over a 19,000-strong petition to the Department of Health and Social Care. It called on the Government to back the one in six people affected by neurological conditions in the UK and calls for a UK-wide Neuro Taskforce to spearhead vital improvements in care and support.
The petition was a result of The Neurological Alliance’s 2022 ‘My Neuro Survey’ completed by more than 8,500 people affected by neurological conditions. It exposed significant shortfalls in mental wellbeing support, delays to accessing vital treatment and care and a lack of information and support at diagnosis.
Georgina Carr, Chief Executive of The Neurological Alliance, added:
“Despite affecting millions of people and costing billions of pounds, neurological conditions are too often at the back of the queue. More than half of people who shared their experiences had experienced delays to routine specialist appointments in the last year and a majority hadn’t been asked about their mental wellbeing by a healthcare professional in the past three years. The message from people affected by neurological conditions is clear - this must change.”
To find out more about the work of The Neurological Alliance you can visit their website.
To keep up to date with Tegan’s success after Bath Spa, you can find her on TikTok, where she has amassed more than 450,000 followers and continues to campaign for the rights of others.