Sunderland teenager battling cancer in the midst of exams gets straight As

Natalia Rooks with her exam results
Natalia Rooks with her exam results

A Sunderland teenager who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in the midst of sitting her AS-level exams is celebrating gaining two A grades.

Natalia Rooks was diagnosed with Stage 4 of aggressive bone cancer Ewing’s Sarcoma in May, after tumours were found in her pubic bone, pelvis and her lung.

Hospital staff who surprised Natalia Rooks with a cake and banner after she received her exam results

Hospital staff who surprised Natalia Rooks with a cake and banner after she received her exam results

However, despite the devastating news that only four in 10 people can be cured, the brave 17-year-old continued with her exams, gaining A grades in psychology and geography.

St Anthony’s Sixth Form pupil Natalia said: “I don’t know how this is possible but I’m absolutely over the moon.

“Despite sitting my exams with a stress fracture and tumour causing me discomfort, missing some due to biopsies, hospital appointments and finally being diagnosed with cancer halfway through my exams – on May 26 – I have managed to come out with two As at AS level.

“As well as this I achieved 135/144 UMS points in psychology which is insane.

I don’t know how this is possible but I’m absolutely over the moon

Natalia Rooks

“I remember when people told me psychology would be too hard for me – but I sure showed them; how I wanted to drop it at the beginning of year 12 – but I stuck with it and I’m so glad I did.

“I’m so proud of myself for sitting as many exams as I could whilst everything was going on and getting these grades.

“I realise now that grades aren’t everything, but working hard and achieving good grades opens up so many doors and boosts your confidence massively.

“Even though I don’t know what the future holds for me in terms of my education, I plan to keep going as best I can as I will not let cancer get in my way.

“If you’re starting A levels, a degree or GCSEs this year, stick in because it’s such a great feeling opening an envelope to see these grades knowing how hard you have worked for them.”

Natalia, who has been undergoing chemotherapy at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, is facing the prospect of having medical treatment thousands of miles away.

She is raising money fly to America later this year where she will undergo proton beam radiotherapy which will reduce the size of the tumours and take away the need for major surgery.

The treatment will be part funded by the NHS, however, money is needed for travelling and living costs.

People can donate at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/nataliasbattleagainstewingssarcoma