In 2006, Ms Jones was studying part time for her Doctorate of Education when she was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease.
As Huntington’s disease is a degenerative neurological condition affecting the brain and nervous system, the Claremont resident (47) said there were many times over the past six years when she almost gave up.
‘As well as it being very difficult for me to type, I have trouble with my memory and forget certain words, which is very frustrating,’ she said. ‘With that in mind, it does feel like I have achieved this against all the odds.
‘I’m very driven, so when I say I’m going to do something, I usually make sure I do it. Now that it’s finished and sitting here on the table, it was worth every second.’
Ms Jones’ dissertation titled FLOTE-ing and Sinking: Teacher Participation in Online Professional Development was last month awarded the Postgraduate Researcher Award from the WA Institute for Educational Research at Murdoch University.
At her graduation last September, she also received the School of Education Prize for the best Doctorate of Education dissertation in the past two years.
‘When I was first diagnosed, I created this mantra of making the most of ever minute, so I started working my way through a list of crazy things,’ she said.
‘After a while I decided that it was actually better if you do one big thing a month instead of cramming it in. It’s my way of staying positive and moving forward.’
She said receiving the award was August’s ‘big thing’ and this month she and her family were going to Rio for the Huntington’s Disease World Congress from September 15-18.