Denise fixed midwifery as her career during her mid-teens, yet another 30 years had to pass before Denise could fulfill her ambition. In the meantime she experienced marriage, motherhood and jobs including education and marriage guidance work.
When Denise was 43, she went back to college and joined a three-year training to become a midwife. Passing out from Swansea University, Denise finally re-discovered the career she had always wanted.
Yet nothing has prepared her for the honor of being named as UK's Health Care Provider of the Year. The award will be handed over to her at a glitzy ceremony in the Hilton Hotel in Park Lane, London. Small wonder then Denise is still in shock.
The nomination was made by a young mother from Cardiff ; Nicki Cunningham, of Pontprennau. Nicki could not thank Denise enough for the help and friendship she extended at the lowest point of her life.
It all began when Denise, now 51, was one of the midwives who helped Nicki deliver her baby . This was at the new midwife-only unit at Llandough Hospital, Penarth, in September last year.
Recalls Denise : "It was a perfect delivery with no medical intervention - just what Nicki wanted.
"But after the birth we suspected from the appearance of the baby that there was a problem. Nicki was transferred to the University Hospital of Wales where tests confirmed the baby girl had Downs Syndrome.
"This did not seem to affect Nicki and her partner Richard, they were the perfect parents to Hollie-Mai - you couldn't have asked for better parents", says Denise.
Yet Hollie-Mai died a couple of weeks later and the family was shattered. This was when Denise more than fulfilled her midwifery obligations . She paid regular house visits, phone calls and sent text messages in an attempt to reassure the stricken family.
"I was trying to support Nicki emotionally. She was, and is, a wonderful mother. I would talk her through her grief and how to cope. I wanted to help her and Richard", says Denise.
Denise believes it was perhaps her 12 years in a part-time counseling role that might have helped her play a part in helping Nicky cope.
Nicki, 32, is a scientific officer for Caerphilly Borough Council. She gave birth to a son Dylan-Rhys two weeks ago. She nominated Denise for the award after responding to requests made by the Mother and Baby magazine.
"She not only helped to deliver Hollie-Mai but after she died she helped us cope. It was a very hard time but Denise was in touch all the time and we built up a really good bond - she's absolutely brilliant", Nicki was reported.