Coming to NWRC was the best decision of my lifeRoisin QuinnNWRC student
Roisin Quinn, who is now 18, suffered a massive stroke four years ago which left her with limited speech, reduced mobility in her right arm, and temporarily using a wheelchair.
Fast forward four years, and Roisin has already starred in three productions since starting her Performing Arts course at NWRC, including the reimagined interpretation of Macbeth, and most recently, Romeo and Juliet.
And during Stroke Awareness Month this May, Roisin wants to tell other younger people that they can achieve their dreams even after facing major challenges in their lives.
She said: “I have always loved Performing Arts. After my stroke, I thought I would never be able to do Performing Arts, but here I am. Coming to NWRC changed my life.”
In 2019, Roisin, who has Chron’s Disease had just been discharged from the Royal Victoria Hospital when she suddenly lost her ability to speak. Five days later she suffered a stroke.
“It’s very rare for a 14 year-old to have a stroke,” said Roisin, “it’s a lot for a young person to have to deal with. Thankfully I had my family, they were so supportive to me, especially my mum Jacqueline.”
Roisin’s condition meant she missed more than six months of school and needed to repeat an entire academic year.
She said: “It was a very hard time. I really wanted to go back to school but I felt very isolated because I had lost my friends and was in a different year group.
“Before, I had been very academic, but the stroke affected that because I had a brain injury. I had learned to speak and walk again, but I didn’t regain full power in my right arm, and I had to learn how to write all over again using my left arm.”
After completing her GCSEs, Roisin decided to enrol in a Level 3 Performing Arts course at NWRC rather than completing A-Levels.
“I was very sceptical about it,” she said. "But coming to NWRC was the best decision of my life. Singing has been a huge passion of mine and through my course I have learned dance which has allowed me to express myself. I have choreographed my own dance called: ‘I’m So Happy’ and I am looking forward to performing it at Best in FE.”
Roisin says medics cannot explain why she suffered a stroke so young, but she hopes telling her story will inspire other young people facing challenges to chase their dreams.
“If someone had told me four years ago that I’d be in a Shakespeare play with my peers I wouldn’t have believed them,” she said. “I watched Rose Ayling Ellis on Strictly Come Dancing and she was such an inspiration to me.
“I do still have challenges, but everything in life is good. My class are lovely, so supportive, I have made friends for life. My plan now is to continue studying Performing Arts and hopefully go on to work in Musical Theatre.
“In between all these I have also been one of 30 people in Ireland selected for a programme which is a steppingstone to the Washington Ireland Program. I feel that this is a wonderful opportunity for me.”
Carie Logue Houston, Lecturer in Performing Arts said Roisin is an “emerging young talent, and a joy to teach.”
“I had goosebumps on my arms when I heard Roisin sing with the choir during Romeo and Juliet,” she said. “Roisin epitomizes everything we are about at NWRC. For myself as a lecturer, and the rest of the staff it has been a joy to see Roisin grow during this year. Roisin keep going because you really can achieve anything you want to achieve.”