UCL Medical School


Daniella's story

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, Daniella's finances and family were impacted, making the year even more difficult than usual. Despite this she set up a student volunteering network helping NHS staff.

To whom it may concern,

I just wanted to say a massive thank you for your kind donation this term. It has helped  me immensely.

Daniella Dungate
My name is Daniella, and I am a 26 year old graduate student now in my 4th year. I graduated with a 1st class honours degree in Physiology at the University of Liverpool in 2016. I was the first in my immediate family to go onto further education.

To briefly touch on my background, at the age of 11 I was adopted with my younger brother and had a very stable loving home. My family were incredibly supportive of my decision to do graduate medicine and helped me financially to afford medical school; this is because as a graduate you have to fund your studies for a second undergraduate degree. Unfortunately, In the past year my adopted father moved to Kazakhstan out of the blue and has since stopped being actively involved. As a result, my mother has had to take over all financial responsibility for our home, and I used all my savings to fund last year studies. This has been demanding but we’ve managed and had a plan, and then COVID-19 hit. My mother is a hairdresser and self – employed carer which meant her income was significantly reduced. To make matters more difficult she hadn’t been self-employed long enough to benefit from the Government scheme. As a result, finances have become a lot more complicated.

The money you donated has paid for my first instalment of tuition fees this year and has alleviated so much pressure and given me time to work things out. So, for that I cannot express how grateful I am to you for your donation and allowing me to continue with my studies.

I also would like to tell you a bit about a volunteering scheme that I was and am involved in since the pandemic. During the first wave, myself and a friend worked with the National Health Supporters and set up the volunteering scheme in my home area; covering Kent, Medway and Surrey. The project provided support for healthcare workers in need across the country who needed childcare, food drop off and medication collections. This service was offered by medical and healthcare students who had a DBS and whose studies had been moved online. It was a country wide initiative and we worked closely together to offer the same scheme. My role involved being in the media team promoting the service, as well as pairing up volunteers with those in need in my area. This was incredibly rewarding knowing we were doing something useful to help those who were sacrificing so much for us.

I know there any many more students who are like me, who come into financial difficulty throughout their studies. Having individuals like yourselves who kindly donate money to help, is so incredibly humbling and generous. I can’t express the gratitude I have.

Yours Sincerely,

Daniella Dungate

MBBS Year 5 medical student