Teen who cared full-time for grandmother with dementia achieves straight A*s at A-level

Jaynee achieved 4 A*s and will now pursue her passion of caring for others, through studying to become a doctor. Credit: Cardiff Sixth Form College

A teenage girl who cared full-time for her grandmother has managed to secure top A-level grades and a university place to study medicine.

Jaynee Winslade-Gregory, 18, secured four A*s in Chemistry, Biology, Maths and English Literature and will go on to study at Imperial College, London.

But to get there she had to juggle her education with looking after her grandmother, who had dementia and suffered a stroke.

Jaynee, whose Dad works night shifts and mum suffers from mental health issues, cared for her grandmother, in the morning, after school and overnight. She would help her with showering, dressing, eating and taking her medication.

But following her grandmother's death, Jaynee felt she had lost her sense of purpose.

“As an only child I have never known anything else,” she said.

“We had no outside support so I felt my mission in life was to care for my Nanna and to look after people generally. When she passed away it was as if I had lost my purpose and compounded by lockdowns during the pandemic, I felt very displaced."

It was the support from her parents and teachers at Cardiff Sixth Form College that helped her carry on with her studies, spurring her on to achieve her dream of caring for others through a career in medicine.

Jaynee explained: "I decided to put my head down, start working hard to achieve the best grades I could and am now the first person in my family to go to university and the first doctor.”

The 18-year-old's interest in medicine first started when she went with her grandmother to a hospital appointment. She was fascinated by the medical staff and began talking to the doctors about how they made diagnoses.

"I first went into hospital with my Nanna when she was diagnosed with vascular dementia, triggered by a mini stroke, when I was two years old,” said Jaynee.

“She was very disabled, blind and needed lots of support so hospital became almost like our second home.

"I found the atmosphere very inspiring and idealised the doctors. Seeing people who had such a positive manner and were doing their absolute best to help people, many of whom were extremely ill, really focused me.

"It was pivotal in helping me decide what I wanted to do with my life.”

Jaynee added: “As a country girl growing up in Wales, going to university in London has been my dream.

"I was fortunate to win a full scholarship at Cardiff Sixth Form College which has helped me not just achieve top grades, but also reflect on where I wanted to go to medical school and think positively about how to get there.

"We had lots of professionals working in different part of the medical profession come to speak to us and I certainly couldn’t have done it without their support.”

An active campaigner and fundraiser for dementia, Jaynee set up donation pages for the Bristol-based dementia charity, BRACE. She has also volunteered, shadowed medical practitioners, helped lead Cardiff Sixth Form College’s medical society and undertaken extra medial research.

Cardiff Sixth Form College Principal, Gareth Collier applauded Jaynee's commitment and said he was confident she would make a brilliant doctor.

He said: “Jaynee has worked really hard, attending drop in sessions with staff to help her catch up on her chemistry.

"Having spent so much time in hospital she has seen first-hand what being a doctor entails and understands the hard working environment in which medical staff operate. She has natural empathy and will make an excellent doctor.”