Dream GCSE grades for cancer sufferer

A TEENAGER battling a rare form of cancer who was given just months to live said she was determined to pursue her dreams after picking up her GCSE results.

John Howard

A TEENAGER battling a rare form of cancer who was given just months to live said she was determined to pursue her dreams after picking up her GCSE results.

Sophie Ellis, from Battisford, beat the odds to achieve seven passes, with four at C and above, including Bs in English language and drama.

The 16-year-old was celebrating with friends at Stowmarket High School yesterday and now hopes to take up a place to study either musical theatre at Norwich City College or performance arts at Suffolk College in Ipswich.

The youngster is thought to be the only teenager in the UK for a generation to have developed a rare cancer in a lung.

After valiantly fighting the disease, doctors told her in June last year that she had just months to live. But, despite the highs and lows of fighting the disease, she was still able to do her exams and join the celebrations yesterday.

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She said: “Drama and English were the ones I wanted the most and I never expected to get a C in religious education. My brothers both got Us.

“I found music very difficult so was very pleased to get a C. I was never in any of my science lessons because I was always in hospital, but with my grades I now hope to go on and study musical theatre or performing arts.

“I'm always having blips in my health, but I just can't afford to be ill, and I did my best today.”

Headteacher Keith Penn said he was absolutely delighted with how Sophie had done.

“It shows that results are not just about students who get the very top grades, and we have those too, but students who get the very best for themselves,” he said.

“It's down to her very positive attitude, there is no question about that. This has carried her through and I'm just so proud of her.”

Three years ago the youngster became a medical anomaly when she was diagnosed with mesothelioma because she was thought to be the only British teenager to have developed the disease in her lung in the last 30 years.

She endured an operation to remove her right lung and painful courses of chemotherapy and radiotherapy since the diagnoses in 2005.

The 16-year-old had apparently been beating the odds and was recovering from the cancer when last year an MRI scan revealed that the cancer had returned. Sophie is still seeing experts but is determined to get on with her life, and whatever it holds.