Fakenham student’s exam joy after cancer battle

A courageous Fakenham High School student is celebrating an impressive haul of GCSEs – despite losing more than half her Year 11 study time while undergoing treatment for cancer.

Kirsty Tindal, 16, from Barney, near Fakenham, passed in nine subjects, including one A* and five A grades.

She was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma just three days into the new term last September, and spent much of the next six months undergoing a debilitating course of chemotherapy.

'It was a massive shock – you never think it is going to happen to you,' she said. 'I was scared, as you don't know what's going on. I was not really thinking about school at the time, but I had done half my GCSEs so I was a bit worried about completing them at all.

'I had six months of chemotherapy, and spent less than 50pc of my time at school. I was very tired, and I couldn't get up in the mornings. I had sickness quite often, and I was on steroids which made me very emotional.

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'It was hard to be around people sometimes. You felt really lost, and not yourself. When I did manage to go to school I was a bit down, but then you get all your friends around you and it helps so much.'

Kirsty said the support of her family – including parents Julia and Ron, and brother Murray – was also invaluable during her frequent hospital trips.

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Although she still needs regular scans, Kirsty's illness is now in remission. 'I'm never going to be clear of it, and there's always a chance it could come back,' she said. 'But it's so far, so good.'

Now, the determined teenager is looking forward to studying A-levels in physics, chemistry, biology and maths at Fakenham College in the hope of becoming a forensic scientist.

'I did consider a medical career at one point, but I think I've had enough of hospitals,' she said.

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