SHE may have been born deaf, suffered dyslexia and been hit by depression but battling Vee Extance has bounced back from all life has thrown at her and hopes to be a published author.
Vee, from Mexborough, was deaf at birth, is dyslexic and was diagnosed with non-epileptic attack disorder in 2005.
She says she suffered abuse as a child and grew up with no self-confidence and became clinically depressed, finding it difficult to hold down a job and support herself.
But Vee, now 38, says she turned her life round after getting a job as a Community Learning and Employment Champion. And since meeting a published poet, Ian Parks, she has started writing her life story.
Ian is helping the mum-of-two with the task, and she is already three-quarters of the way through completing the book.
She is one of 50 learning champions who were recruited for a scheme run by Doncaster Council’s Success Doncaster programme. They have supported more than 2,000 individuals into learning and employment opportunities.
Vee said: “I thought of myself as a victim and I felt useless. But when I heard about the Community Learning and Employment Champion project, it really struck a chord with me.
“Helping people get their lives back on track by getting them into work and training was a positive thing to do. I’ve since signposted 156 local people into training and employment over the last six months and got a real buzz from every single person I have helped.
“As part of my own training as a Champion, I met local poet Ian Parks. For a long time I have wanted to write a book which would give support others who have suffered abuse, but every time I told myself that my dyslexia would prevent me from ever achieving that.
“At the same time, I was also attending an introduction-to-counselling course at Dearne Valley College.
“I began to receive positive feedback from my lecturers and fellow students. Professional people were commenting on how well I was doing and that was a fantastic feeling. My confidence soared and I got the inspiration I needed to take the plunge and write a book.”
She added: “The subject of the book is a difficult one. I refer to it as the aftermath of abuse. I’ve woken up and thought, ‘I no longer want to be referred to as a victim’. It’s my personal rollercoaster story that details my transformation into a survivor, and I know it will inspire others who’ve suffered in the same way.
“Ian is supporting me with the writing and I’m typing pages and pages every day. People I look up to have offered to endorse the book when it’s completed.
“I find it truly amazing how other people, people I don’t even know, want to help when they find out that you’re focused on helping others.
“I’m now a self-employed writer and there are least another four books I want to work on after this one. My long-term goal, however, is to establish a support group for victims of abuse so they can talk to someone who knows exactly what they’re experiencing. I never thought I’d be in this position, and I’m so proud of what I’ve achieved so far.”