When a hit-and-run drink driver ploughed his pick-up truck into Kady Middleton, her life was left hanging in the balance.
“I was lying on a hospital bed and I was dying, the doctors told my parents to expect the worse, but it’s not like me to give up,” said the University of Northampton graduate.
The accident happened in January 2015, halfway through Kady’s first year of her journalism degree.
While her coursemates were busy with lectures, Kady spent a month in and out of the operating theatre as doctors sought to repair the substantial damage her body had suffered – including a broken cheekbone and eye socket, a torn oesophagus, 10 broken ribs, a torn liver and pancreas, a burst stomach artery, two collapsed lungs and a broken leg.
But it was a leaking artery that posed the most significant danger to Kady’s life, and with it going undetected for weeks, she had, at best, days to live.
Kady said: “I just wanted to go to sleep, but the doctors wouldn’t let me, because I wouldn’t have woken up. Luckily they found the location of the leak and I had an operation which saved my life.”
Within months, she was back on her feet and determined to carry on with her studies. With support from academics on the course, she clawed back what she’d missed, and eventually passed with flying colours, graduating in 2017 with a first-class honours degree.
After stints working for the BBC during her studies, Kady took a permanent digital marketing job in her home city of Southampton after graduating. She did this in tandem with a once-a-week slot as a radio producer on BBC Radio Solent’s Sunday religious affairs show.
When a permanent job at Radio Solent cropped up last year, Kady applied – and got the job.
“I went for it and managed to beat hundreds of other applicants and get the job offer,” said Kady. “But I wasn’t sure if I should leave my marketing job, take a pay cut and join the BBC, so I called Kate Williams, my old lecturer who also works for the BBC.
“She told me I got a first class degree for a reason and reminded me I was voted my course’s journalist of the year and it’s what I was born to do. Kate encouraged and inspired me to go for it and I took the leap. Since starting last summer I’ve already made the step up to a digital producer role, which I took on in January.”
Her role sees Kady create content and manage the radio station’s social media presence.
She said: “It’s an amazing job. My brief is to concentrate on happy and inspiring stories. I film and interview people and I often find the stories I’ve unearthed are good enough to be pitched to the BBC’s television, radio and online platforms. Some of my stories often go national and reach an audience of more than a million people.”
Kady’s planning to stay with the BBC, and is excited by the opportunities the corporation can offer an ambitious journalist like herself.
But while she has one eye on the future, she’s also appreciative of the past and the second chance she got at life after her accident.
“I could have died, but I didn’t and I am not the sort to give up,” said Kady. “I’ll never forget the support I received from everyone at the University of Northampton. The course was amazing and made me the journalist I am today. I learnt so much and, while it was hard at the time, having regular news days and contending with the pressure of deadlines, it totally set me up for the industry and my future.
“I have to laugh, because I was so serious about my university work that after my accident I was in hospital and on morphine for pain relief, but I insisted on calling my lecturer Hilary Scott, to apologise and let her know I wouldn’t be able to come in. She didn’t understand a word I was saying, so my mum had to speak to her. I was out of it, but was adamant I was going to do the professional thing.”