Emma Fogarty, 32 from Abbeyleix, who suffers from the rare, painful skin condition EB, shared her experience of getting through education with medical students at UCD recently.
She reveals that she found secondary school very difficult.
"The teachers didn't seem to understand EB. I remember I went in with a doctors note one day, to say 'she can't wear her uniform, she has to wear her PE gear, instead of the skirt and the knee high socks. and every week the principal haunted me, 'where's your skirt, where's your skirt'," she said.
"I found it hard, it wasn't easy to make friends. It's not easy with teenagers. Everyone's insecure, whether you've a disability or not," Emma told the medical students.
Nevertheless she achieved a good Leaving Cert grade and moved out of home "to the horror of my parents" to go to third level college in Limerick, with the help of a personal assistant.
"The PA almost had to become my mother and do everything for me. Do my medications, do my dressings," she said.
Emma is now the Patient Ambassador for Debra Ireland, and travels nationwide to promote awareness of her rare condition, which affects about 300 people in Ireland, and causes skin to blister at the slightest touch. Every year she speaks to new students at the UCD School of Medicine.
Last year she won a Hidden Heroes Courage Over Adversity Award for her work.
Video courtesy of DEBRA Ireland, who give support to those living with EB. Phone them at 01 412 6924 or see Debra Ireland on facebook.