Gwersyllt girl battles cancer to pass all her exams


Rory Sheehan

A COURAGEOUS teenage girl who has been battling a brain tumour for six years has celebrated passing all her GCSEs.

Inspirational Orlanna Mackay, 16, a pupil at Ysgol Bryn Alyn in Gwersyllt has been bravely fighting cancer throughout her time at school.

But yesterday her courage paid off as she opened her envelope to find no less than a grade C in every subject.

Orlanna spoke to the Leader about all the hurdles she has had to overcome.

She said: “I’d started getting what felt like migraines and that was what I was treated for initially, but my vision started to go blurry, I was seeing double, so my mum took me to the opticians.

“They noticed a build up of fluid behind my eyes, and referred me to A&E and I was diagnosed.

“I had to have the fluid drained from the tumour.

“Since then I’ve been fighting cancer all the time I’ve been at this school and I have had to go through keyhole surgery.

“The teachers have always been very helpful, making sure I had a ‘one-to-one’ to take notes for me.

“They eased me in with only a few days a week at first as I slowly did the work. When I came back from hospital my mobility had suffered as the treatment had tightened the muscles in my legs and walking was difficult.”

Even when going through chemotherapy and radiotherapy, Orlanna tried to lead as normal a life as possible with the support of her schoolfriends.

“It has been hard to concentrate on school but my friends made it easier for me, and treated me no differently” she added.

“Any time I have to spend in hospital, my form group are always asking after me, and the school allowed me extra time at the end of exams to allow for my tired muscles.

“I was told my hair would grow back but that if it hasn’t grown back by now, it’s not going to. However, I’ve been told that by next summer, I will be five months clear –  and that is something to focus on.”

Orlanna said she was particularly proud of her A* in RE and A grade in English language. She added: “When I saw my results, I felt like crying, I was so happy. I can’t believe I got a B in science. I don’t know what I’ll do to celebrate yet, but I need to tell my mum, she will be in tears.

“I’m off to college now to take my A-levels.

“I also just want to thank Mrs Hayes and Mrs Griffiths for all the support they have given me throughout school.”

Teacher Claire Corfield said all pupils at the school could look to Orlanna as a role model. She said: “Orlanna is an inspiration to us all, and these are fantastic results. She is a very determined, strong-willed young lady who I am sure will have a brilliant future.”

l Other star  pupils at Ysgol Bryn Alyn were Fiona Harries who achieved A*s in science subjects and A grades in art, maths and English.

She said: “I’m so happy. I was up late last night panicking over getting a B in maths which I needed as I’m looking to study psychology at university in Manchester.”

Amie Davies was another who excelled, gaining an A* in RE.

She said: “I am most proud of my grade B in music which was the hardest subject. I’m quite chuffed overall but it’s what I expected as I have worked hard.

“I’m going to college to study psychology, sociology and music.”

See full story in the Leader

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