Warus beats major illness to graduate

Education, Normal

The National, Monday July 22nd, 2013

 IT has been a long hard road to Mary Kairu Warus’s triumphal graduation at the University of Queensland, with major surgery threatening to block her efforts. 

Warus graduated with a Masters of Communication on Thursday, after submitting her final assignment from her Brisbane St Andrew’s Hospital bed in June, just six hours before surgery to remove a rare 4.8cm adrenal gland tumour. 

“I was almost going to give up with my final assignment as it was just so tough for me,” she said. 

“I asked the Lord to give me strength to get through this because I wanted to graduate so much.” 

Warus submitted her final assignment at 2am, knowing she would be too ill to complete it after surgery scheduled for 8am that day. 

“Once I handed it in and I heard it had been received, somehow I knew that it would all be okay and I felt so happy and proud because I had actually done it,” she said. 

Warus is a PNG Government librarian dedicated to taking literacy to PNG’s most remote schools. 

She said she would not have gotten through the past few months without support from staff at the University of Queensland (UQ), particularly the School of Journalism and Communication, as well as prayers and support from her husband, children and other family members and friends in Australia, PNG and the USA. 

Staff at UQ’s Centre for Communication and Social Change, in the School of Journalism and Communication, banded together to raise more than $3,000 (K6,600) in five days for Waru’s surgery. 

Centre project officer Samantha Ryan said the students and staff were happy to support her with funds and encouragement. 

“I know the campaign really helped lift Mary’s spirits and gave her hope,” Ryan said. 

Warus will always be grateful for that support. – UQ  

“People I didn’t even know donated to help me,” she said. 

“I never expected that an online fundraising page would generate so much support,” she said. 

Mary graduated with a master of communication (communication for social change) last Thursday and will return home to PNG when she is fit enough to travel. – UQ 

“I am looking forward to going home but I am going to miss UQ, Brisbane and Australia very much,” she said. 

“I am taking away the studies and knowledge I gained here and going back to help the people of my country by putting into practice what I have learned.” 

But this will not be the last UQ hears from Mary, as she hopes to begin a PhD in the near future.  – UQ News