A teenage girl who battled her 27th round of chemotherapy while sitting her GCSE exams has celebrated a string of top grades.
Kelly Turner, who has been fighting a rare and aggressive form of cancer for the past two years, learned on Thursday that she passed all of her GCSE exams, taking home an A grade in RE and science, as well as four Bs and four Cs.
Determined to “get on with it” and “live a normal life”, the 17-year-old sat 10 GCSEs despite facing gruelling chemotherapy treatment that left her feeling exhausted and ill.
“It was really difficult to be honest,” the Kent teen told HuffPost UK.
“I was ill quite a bit of the time and I had to study too - it was hard to find the motivation sometimes.
“But I wanted to have my grades for the future because I believe I’m going to get better so I’m going to need the grades to do well and succeed.”
Diagnosed with a rare form of soft tissue sarcoma when she was just 15, Kelly was told she would only have two years to live without treatment.
Her family are now attempting to raise £1 million to send her to the US for life-saving surgery and immunotherapy.
Helped in part by a £50,000 donation from X-Men star James McAvoy, they have currently collected more than £570,000.
The family are currently awaiting Kelly’s next scan, the results of which will determine if she is well enough to fly to America.
But the young woman has vowed not to let her diagnosis stand in the way of her success.
With GCSE’s now under her belt, she is set to start studying A Levels in biology, English literature, art and textiles, with the ultimate aim of becoming a radiographer.
“I’ve had quite a lot of scans over the past two years and I find it quite interesting,” Kelly said.
“The NHS has done a lot for me in keeping me alive and I want to pay them back for everything they have done.”
The teenager’s father Martin said he and his wife Linda are “incredibly proud” of their daughter.
“There’s not many people who would even attempt to take the exams or do the study in this situation,” he said.
“The motivation has been difficult at times because she’s been so ill - the chemo does have some dire results and effects on her well-being and physical ability to do anything.
“But once she’s overcome that, she bounces back from everything.”
Visit the Kelly’s Just Giving page for more information about how to donate to the family’s fund.
For a schedule of upcoming fundraising events, visit their Facebook page.
The Turner family have been supported in their crowdfunding efforts by charity Tree of Hope, who have been helping people fundraise for specialist treatment for the past 25 years.