Giant leap for Chris Hadfield’s niece as she graduates in Limerick

30-year-old Canadian Kelly Hadfield receives medical school qualification from UL

Kelly Hadfield, niece of Canadian triple space flight astronaut Chris Hadfield before being conferred from the Graduate Entry Medical School at University of Limerick. Photograph: Oisin McHugh/True Media

Kelly Hadfield, niece of Canadian triple space flight astronaut Chris Hadfield before being conferred from the Graduate Entry Medical School at University of Limerick. Photograph: Oisin McHugh/True Media

 

Inspired by her retired astronaut uncle having literally reached for the stars, Kelly Hadfield has counted down her own giant career leap into the world of medicine.

The 30-year old Canadian was one of 166 students who graduated from the University of Limerick Graduate Entry Medical School (GEMS) on Tuesday.

Her uncle, Chris Hadfield, was the first Canadian to walk in space having flown two Space Shuttle missions and served as a commander of the International Space Station.

“UL was a life changing experience,” remarked a beaming Ms Hadfield, who was supported by her parents Robin and David and partner Tadgh.

Her uncle’s historic journey into celestial realms inspired her because it “normalised extraordinary accomplishments”, she said. “Having somebody like Uncle Chris just be Uncle Chris, it really has reinforced the mind-set that you and anybody really can do anything they want to do as long as you are stubborn enough and determined enough to do it, to do the work and make that goal happen,” she said.

“It has been very influential on my own thinking, like for example the fact that I was able to come here and do medicine, that was all because of watching him, growing up with him, and I lived with him for a few years in Toronto.”

“From a young age I always felt a really instinctive drive to always help people and I always wanted to be a doctor, but the influence of Chris came in to ‘don’t just be a doctor if you want to make any change in the world, you have to reach big, really plan and work for any scenario and honestly you can make anything happen,” she added.

“I am really proud of the influence he has had on my life in my capacity to create change because that’s what I think physicians should do, is to create change to improve the health and well-being of their communities”.