Renee Falconer

CF patient Renee Falconer

Have you studied beyond school? If so, how did you balance study, personal and CF responsibilities?

Yes, I managed to complete a bachelor of Business and Tourism and an associate diploma in Events Management. I mostly booked my admissions during quiet weeks and holidays. Thankfully uni gives your large breaks so i was able to focus on myself during this time. I also chose to spread my lectures and tutorials over the week rather than cramming them into a few hectic days. This gave me plenty of time to complete my medications and health regime and ensured i didn’t crash and burn by then end of the study week.
I also informed my lecturers and tutors if i was unwell and that i may need a hand going over information should i have to miss a lecture or tut. Everyone was really understanding and even rescheduled time for me to do exams at one point because i had to have an earlier than planned admission.

Do you work and if so, how many hours per week?

Currently I only work part time from home which suits me for now. Previously (Before my transplant and whilst i was studying) I worked in a resort reception as a manager and also did Night duty management which is wear you basically live in site and do any work that may be required during non-working hrs, (5pm though to 9am)
I was able to do 4 days a week working and 7 days a week night duty for 10 years.

When did you tell your employers about your CF?

My current employer knew about my health situation prior to employment however previous to that i did tend to wait the 3 month trial period – this was because i liked to show my worth to a company before i bring out a few things that might not be so ideal.

How did you and your employee address the need for time off for treatment?

I was lucky that my employers have been very understanding of my need for time off and i would generally try to give as much lead up time as possible. I would also take work with me to hospital as do remotely as well as ensure adequate staff are available to fill in. I generally planned hospital admissions during quiet tourism periods.

Have you got any tips for the young CFs looking for a job?

Be positive and don’t disclose anything you feel that you don’t want to. Legally you are not required to and as much as we all like to think that there is no discrimination in this world, there sometimes is. Show your employer how valuable you are to their business and they’ll move mountains to keep you!

If you've had a transplant - what is one thing you wish you were told before transplant that could help you nowadays?

Probably that even though it is a terrifying prospect having a surgery so massive and hearing both good and bad stories from other patients, i’m glad i did it. Sometimes you need to have faith and know that your journey, just like everyone’s will be unique. In my personal situation i was ready for whatever life was going to throw at me because in the long run i’d rather battle epic wars then be buried and long gone.

What would the older you like to tell the younger you?

Hmmm… I probably would have gone for that harder degree (Veterinary science) – or continued my studies (Masters in International Business).. I also would have given myself a swift kick up the bum for slacking off when i was a teenager – i’m not 10 feet tall and bulletproof and the Drs are in fact right – on all accounts. Like it or not.

What are few things you would love to be able to do in the future (i.e. climb Mt. Everest, meet Ellen, learn to juggle)?

Ooohhhh.. This is actually really hard but I want to travel more, watch my Nieces and Nephew grow up, go to more concerts and maybe.. One day.. Skydive (i’m terrified of heights)


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