Portsmouth teen conquers bone marrow transplant to achieve her A-levels

Portsmouth College student Olivia Tookey, 19, overcame a bone marrow transplant to achieve her A-levels.
Picture: Tom Cotterill
Portsmouth College student Olivia Tookey, 19, overcame a bone marrow transplant to achieve her A-levels. Picture: Tom Cotterill

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THREE years ago she was in a hospital bed battling for survival.

But yesterday, delighted Portsmouth teen Olivia Tookey was celebrating triumphing over adversity as she collected her A-level results.

The 19-year-old had been forced to undergo a bone marrow transplant at the end of Year 11 and missed four of her exams, derailing hopes of starting her A-levels.

And after a year out of education, recovering in isolation for months, overwhelmed Olivia scooped three A-levels; As in biology and history and a B in film studies.

Speaking of her grades, the Portsmouth College student said: ‘I’m really, really happy at the moment.

‘It’s a relief to be finished. It has been a lot of worry and stress.’

Olivia said the grades have now opened the door for her to head to university – although she is still weighing up whether that is the right option for her.

‘I’d like to do a working gap year,’ she added.

Olivia said it was fantastic that her life was now back on track and described the year-long ordeal of her treatment as ‘horrible’.

She had to remain isolated while her weakened immune system recovered.

Speaking of her treatment, she said: ‘It was very isolating.

‘I had to spend a month in hospital. I had no red blood cells of platelets being produced.

‘I was stuck in a room and had a whole year out.

‘It was horrible.’

Olivia added that the support and encouragement of her family had been ‘incredible’.