Gemma Lowery, 38, was granted an Honorary Fellowship of the University of Sunderland on Friday, December 3 – just four weeks after the birth of her newborn daughter, Gracie-Mae.
Gemma, from Blackhall, was joined by husband Carl, 38, and Gracie-Mae at the Stadium of Light today for the special ceremony as she joined hundreds of other students celebrating their graduations from the University.
It was fitting for newborn Gracie-Mae to be at the ceremony as Gemma graduated from the University of Sunderland a decade ago when Bradley was just a few weeks old.
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She commented: “It was actually 10 years ago that I graduated from the University at the Stadium. Like Gracie-Mae, Bradley was just a few weeks old at the time but he was with me for the day.
“Ten years ago, when I was studying here, I was managing a job, being mum to Kieran, who is now 19, and being pregnant with Bradley – it was a huge juggling act.”
The mum, who graduated from the University in 2011 with a BSc in Health and Social Care, established the charity with the goal of using donations to support families who were fundraising for treatment or equipment not available on the NHS.
Following Bradley’s death in July 2017, aged just six, following a brave battle with neuroblastoma cancer, Gemma was determined to honour her son and formed the Bradley Lowery Foundation with the aim of support other families with poorly children.
Professor Jon Timmis, deputy vice-chancellor (commercial) at the university, highlighted the work that Gemma has done proves there is “always a purpose” to life.
He said on Friday: “Gemma has shown us that through even the darkest of times, the most devastating of circumstances, there is always light to be found, always hope to cling to, and always a purpose for our lives.
“We recognise her today for her outstanding efforts in establishing and growing the Bradley Lowery Foundation.”