AFTER suffering constant seizures, blackouts and dizziness throughout years 10 and 11 Holly Cross would have been forgiven for putting her education on the backburner.
But despite countless visits to Queen Alexandra Hospital and an eventual diagnosis of epilepsy she battled through and finished her GCSEs.
The 16-year-old Crookhorn College pupil had her mum, Claire, in tears of joy as she unveiled two 6s, two 4s and a host of passes yesterday.
It seemed an unimaginable feat for a girl whose studies were marred by terrifying, debilitating seizures that first struck only when she was 14.
'Most of my exams were a blur but I knew I couldn't miss them,' she said.
'You know what hospitals are like, I was was having scans all over the place and I was out of it most of the time, but I was having to come into school and get my attendance up.
'Instead of going to lessons I had to go to a room on my own because I was all over the place and during my exams I was sat in my own room having seizures.
'I didn't know what was going on.'
When the first seizure occurred it was believed to be a one-off, but to Holly and her family's horror they returned and became 'really frightening'.
'When she started doing her exams the seizures became more frequent and there was no warning,' said her mum Claire, 39.
'She just drops to the floor, she shakes violently, goes completely blue and doesn't breathe.
'It's really frightening to watch, but I'm so proud of her because she has picked herself up and dusted herself off.'
Holly will now go on to study personal training for health, fitness and performance at Havant and South Downs College - a choice inspired by the hardship of her mum's cousin.
We recently had a family member go through a horrific motorbike accident and watching physiotherapists with him is what's spurred her on,' said Claire.
Holly added: 'Every time I see him he's able to do more and more and I want to help change someone's life in that way.'