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Joe Sims: The bravest student in Harlow triumphs!

Burnt Mill Academy / Wed 26th Aug 2015 at 09:31am

Joe SimsA CANCER diagnosis did not stop brave Joe Sims from achieving a crop of top GCSE grades. When the 16-year-old, from Challinor, Church Langley, found a lump in his neck in February, he feared his chances of succeeding in the summer’s exams had been ruined.

The diagnosis of a rare form of Hodgkins lymphoma in April meant the lump had to be removed immediately and Joe was given the all-clear.

However, a second lump soon appeared which has this month been confirmed as cancerous and so he now faces a bout of chemotherapy.

Despite his health battle, Joe picked up nine A* and A grades from Burnt Mill Academy, in First Avenue, Harlow, this week.

Proud mum Amanda, who collected Joe’s results with him, said of his results: “I can’t believe it really. Nobody deserves this success more than Joe; he is so hardworking. I always knew he would do well, but because of everything he is going through, I wasn’t so sure.

“He has let his illness go over his head and hasn’t wanted a fuss to be made; he doesn’t want to be labelled as the boy with cancer. Lots of people around him don’t even know what he’s been going through. He has had a few days off school, but he has just got on with it.”

Joe has managed to secure the top grades due in part to his hard work, but also the support of his friends and Burnt Mill.

Mrs Sims said: “All he has been focusing on is getting the grades to get into college and looking into universities.

“Burnt Mill has been out of this world. I emailed the school when Joe was diagnosed and immediately got a phone call in return. They have supported him 100%; whatever he has needed, they have sorted for him. I get a phone call from his teacher every other day to make sure everything is ok and I think that support will continue even though he has now left.

“I told Joe to expect his friends to back off a little when they knew he was ill, but instead they have said if he loses his hair due to treatment, they will all shave their heads in support.”

Joe hopes to study A-level maths, physics, computer science and drama at Herts and Essex.

He said: “I was not expecting these results at all. I was expecting to get through, but not exceed like this. I am feeling pretty good!

“It has all been a bit of a blur. I was told I would be having chemo and would miss my exams so I did take my foot off the pedal for a while. I cared more about my health than the grades at the time. I have tried to get on with things as much as possible. Everyone has been really supportive which has been really important to me.”

Head of school John Blaney said: “We are just so proud of Joe. His strength of character and determination has got him through. We are proud of all of our students, but especially so of Joe with everything he is going through.”

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