David beats brain tumour to ace exams

FOUR years ago David Howett's world was turned upside down after he was informed he had a life-threatening brain tumour.

Russell Claydon

FOUR years ago David Howett's world was turned upside down after he was informed he had a life-threatening brain tumour.

But today he is celebrating an A grade in his impressive set of A-level results - and now wants to help save the lives of others.

David, 18, is delighted his results were enough for him to take up his place at Sussex University next month to read Neuroscience.


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The Northgate High School pupil awoke to discover he had achieved an A in Sociology, B in Psychology and a B in Media studies - capping a remarkable recovery from his deadly tumour.

“I am ecstatic and these results were just what I was hoping for,” said David. “The brain tumour changed my perspective on things - not many 13-year-olds are forced to face questions of death and it was quite difficult.

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“I had really awful symptoms and I was just so pleased it all got sorted and that I could go back to my old life. I was a keen skateboarder at the time and now I have recently taken up rock climbing.”

He added: “I have made a 100% recovery and the doctors did not expect me to recover as quick as I did.

“When I was released from hospital they said I could start cycling in three to four months but I did it in a matter of weeks and that surprised them.”

After being told the tumour was life-threatening when specialists took David into surgery back in March, 2004, his mother cherished the A-level results day a little more than most.

Jackie Williams said: “We were told there was the possibility he could be left severely disabled or not make it through the operation.

“It was a very, very difficult time for the whole family but David was very stoic and strong about it and his positive attitude helped him through and made him appreciate what life is all about.”

Speaking about his A-level results she said: “He has worked incredibly hard and we are very excited for him - my heart is bursting with pride. He will do well at Sussex.”

David, who currently lives with his mum in the Chantry area of Ipswich, said his decision to study Neuroscience was triggered by his experience with the tumour but believes it was an interest he was always destined to take up.

“It definitely had a major role to play,” he said. “I did do psychology which also gave me an idea it was my interest. I want to do something in the medical field now and my overall aim is to save people's lives.”

Neil Watts, headteacher at Northgate High School, said: “We are very proud of David. He was very seriously ill and the school and his family worked together so that he made the most of his opportunities in sixth form and we are delighted for him.”

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