Coleg Cambria learner Jack Edwards will begin life as a student at Plymouth University this September, an achievement he never would have thought possible.
Jack was a 12 year-old at Mold Alun High School when he was found to have acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, a type of cancer that affects the white bloody cells.
He spent years undergoing treatment at Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool, in an attempt to rebuild his immune system, before eventually returning to school in Year 11 at the age of 16.
However, Jack was still recuperating and unable to attend regularly, so he was forced to play catch up on his studies at home and in his own time.
Remarkably, with the support of family and friends, he was able to do so, before taking and passing all his GCSEs and joining Deeside Sixth Form Centre in 2017.
Now 18 and in good health, he is on track to successfully achieve A levels and begin a degree in Medicine at Plymouth later this year.
“It was a massive shock and very difficult for a long time, as I fought back against the leukaemia,” said Jack, from Mold.
“My education suffered badly as I couldn’t go to school and was in no fit state to learn while at hospital, so there was very little I could do.
“When I began to get better and went back to school in Year 11 I was still only able to go 50% of the time so I relied on a family friend who had studied chemistry at university to help me with extra lessons, and of course I did as much as I could in my own time.”
He added: “To then pass all of my GCSEs with straight Bs was amazing, a total shock but something I’m very proud of.
“After that I moved on to Deeside Sixth, and it was the best decision I could have made – they’ve been brilliant.”
Jack is now getting back into sport and regularly visits the gym in a bid to regain full fitness.
“I couldn’t even lift a pencil a few years ago so I’ve come a long way, and to receive an offer to study Medicine is the icing on the cake,” he said.
“I suppose being so sick did play a part in me choosing Medicine, as while at hospital I saw first-hand the amazing work they do.
“I haven’t yet decided which area of medicine I’ll specialise in but oncology is a serious option, it would be amazing to give something back. That goes for all the staff and lecturers at Deeside Sixth Form Centre as well, who have been so helpful and supportive.”
Jack is one of 14 Cambria students to have been offered places to study Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Science next academic year.
Nora Richardson, Deputy Director for Maths, Science and PE, praised Jack for his bravery in achieving such amazing results against the odds.
“He is truly an inspiration and has shown what you can do with hard work and a positive attitude,” she added.
“To have done all of this in such a short space of time while recovering from such a serious illness is miraculous, and we are all so very proud of him.”
For more information on the wide range of courses available at Coleg Cambria, visit www.cambria.ac.ukGo back