Coventry University graduate tells how she beat cancer to graduate from university and build a new career  

Karen Bucknall, Coventry University graduate
University news / Alumni news

Friday 26 November 2021

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A Coventry University graduate has thanked staff for helping her complete her degree while fighting a courageous battle against bowel cancer. 

Karen Bucknall showed tremendous spirit to finish her degree in sociology – even completing her dissertation while having chemotherapy. 

She is now preparing to report on the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham as she trains to become a sports journalist.

The support I had at Coventry University was absolutely brilliant. The sociology department, the lecturers, the disability centre, my disability advisor Sam, the administration team who helped me out when I had to apply for extensions, even the library team – everyone was really kind.  

I was determined to complete my degree in memory of the friends and family who I’ve sadly lost to cancer, and to make my university and lecturers proud.

Karen Bucknall, Coventry University graduate

Despite enjoying her sociology course, Karen’s career path and professional passion turned towards media after she joined Coventry University’s radio station – Phoenix Radio.   

She had her own show and was trained to be a presenter and a radio journalist, which led to exciting opportunities within the media industry. She was crowned the ‘breaking into news regional winner’ by ITV Central back in 2019, and is now looking forward to covering the 2022 Commonwealth Games as well as planning to go freelance as a broadcast journalist, cancer campaigner and activist in January.

Student radio with Phoenix Radio at Coventry University was absolutely amazing. I loved every minute and it actually helped take my mind off the cancer and the treatment I was undergoing.   

I feel as though working with Phoenix Radio helped to shape who I am today and it kickstarted what is now a passion and a really exciting career for me.

Alongside her passion for media and journalism, Karen also has an inspiring drive to use her experiences to help others. She has previously completed cancer awareness and counselling courses, and she also works with cancer charities with the aim of supporting people who are battling cancer and reducing shame and stigma around having cancer.