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Sudbury woman Kynleigh Parker, a Lovell Partnerships worker, scoops Apprenticeships Norfolk Award after health battles





An inspirational construction worker has won a top award thanks to the resilience she has shown whilst dealing with two major health battles.

Sudbury resident Kynleigh Parker, 25, who works for Lovell Partnerships based in Harleston, in Norfolk, broke her back after her attempt to do a back flip on a trampoline went wrong.

After making a remarkable recovery she then discovered that she was affected by endometriosis and has just recovered from a recent operation removing all endometriosis from various parts of the body.

Kynleigh staying upbeat during one of her many hospital stays
Kynleigh staying upbeat during one of her many hospital stays

Endometriosis is a long-term condition where similar tissue to the lining of the womb grows in other places like the ovaries and fallopian tubes, and can affect fertility.

In amidst all of this, the trainee construction site manager climbed Mount Snowden with her partner Alf in June 2023 and raised £2485 to go towards a £7000 fund that will enable her to freeze her eggs and potentially have children in the future.

Then this month, Kynleigh was named as the winner in the ‘achievement in exceptional circumstances’ category of the Apprenticeships Norfolk Awards 2024.

Kynleigh wins a top award at the annual Apprenticeships Norfolk Awards ceremony
Kynleigh wins a top award at the annual Apprenticeships Norfolk Awards ceremony

Kynleigh, who gained her apprenticeship qualification whilst studying at West Suffolk College, based in Bury St Edmunds, said: “I did my GCSEs at school then undertook a painting and decorating course and got an interest in interior design.

“I then switched to fashion and textiles and whilst working for a cleaning firm on construction sites, my interest in site management was born.

“I started at Lovell in March 2020 and became an apprentice. I prefer this way of learning as you get to see how everything works – it’s very visual.

“Then about a year in to the course I broke my back outside of work whilst trying to do a flip on a trampoline. I was in hospital for a week and in a back brace for two months.

“I still have problems (with my back) but knowing I am able to walk and go about my daily activities makes me feel extremely grateful.

“There was a moment when I thought that I could be paralysed. Even when I knew I wasn’t paralysed, I still couldn’t shower or go to the toilet on my own, my independence was stripped from me and I’m a very independent person. That was probably the biggest mental challenge I had for sure. But overall, I feel very lucky.

Kynleigh learning to walk again after braking her back
Kynleigh learning to walk again after braking her back

“Then recently I was diagnosed as having endometriosis. I had major surgery this year to support my ambitions of having children in the future. It (the condition) is not talked about enough. But, it has an impact on one in 10 women and is as common as diabetes.

“As well as having an impact on your fertility, it can create fatigue, back pain, bloating and abdominal pain. I’ve just had a large part of my bowel removed due to the endometriosis and I’m slowly starting to feel better.

“It might sound strange but going through all of this has made me have more of a positive outlook. I set myself goals regularly and keep moving forwards.

“Part of this positive mindset saw me climb Mount Snowdon in June 2023. It was very rainy on the way up, but sunny and beautiful on the way down.

“I was nervous attempting this after my back injury but it felt good to complete the challenge. My partner Alf and I had a little cabin so we had a BBQ at the end to celebrate.

“A piece of advice that has kept me going through all of this is from the storyteller Brene Brown. She said: ‘One day you’ll tell you story of how you overcame what you went through and it will become someone else’s survival guide’.”

Kynleigh keeping positive after stomach surgery so that she can better manage her endometriosis
Kynleigh keeping positive after stomach surgery so that she can better manage her endometriosis

In terms of the award, Kynleigh said: “I felt very lucky as I’d been nominated by people in the workplace and it’s nice to know they thought of me. I felt proud to stand up and win the award.”

She said West Suffolk College had been ‘amazing’ and ‘really supportive throughout everything’.

In the future, Kynleigh would like to study courses so she can support other people who struggle with female health issues so that she can share knowledge with her growing number of Instagram followers: @Little_Miss_Endo

Phil Stittle, executive director for Eastern Education Group and who helps support the apprenticeship programme at West Suffolk College, said: “Kynleigh’s story is remarkable. The resilience she has shown to overcome everything that has come her way is simply remarkable.

“We are so proud to have been able to support her and play a small part in her journey to success.”

Graeme Simpson, a site manager for Lovell and Kynleigh’s mentor, said: “In early November of 2022 I received a call informing me that Kynleigh had an accident.

Kynleigh with her partner climbing Mount Snowdon to raise money to freeze some of her eggs because of endometriosis
Kynleigh with her partner climbing Mount Snowdon to raise money to freeze some of her eggs because of endometriosis

“What followed for Kynleigh was three long months of physiotherapy, mental therapy, and getting her confidence back mentally to walk again.

“When visiting her in hospital I saw a shadow of the Kynleigh I knew in the weeks leading up to her accident. She had to rely on others to feed her, wash her and keep her spirits up. A back brace had to be fitted to enable her to move around, and this was with her until late December 2022.

“She finally returned to work in late January on supervised light duties. On top of all this Kynleigh was also diagnosed with endometriosis.

“Despite all of her troubles the results Kynleigh has been producing during this time have been fantastic. Her work ethic is fabulous and she has a strong desire to do well for the team.

“I am enormously proud to be her mentor and she is a credit to herself and the company. Lovell are lucky to have her - and I feel lucky to know her.”

Next month, March, is Endometriosis Action Month, which is an opportunity to raise awareness, demand change, and show support for those with endometriosis.