Fareham teenager credits lemon-sized brain tumour for his turnaround from failing student to GCSE success
A Fareham Academy student is celebrating his GCSE results after battling a lemon-sized brain tumour.
Tom Ritchie was diagoned with the cancerous tumour in 2017, realising something was wrong when he was sick every day for six weeks over Christmas.
The 16-year old said he was 'completely shocked' when doctors at Southampton Hospital said he was suffering from an inoperable tumour.
He said: ''They said it was too big to operate on, so my only hope was very intensive chemotherapy and radiotherapy.'
The student underwent emergency keyhold surgery to perform a biopsy on part of the 'fast growing' tumour and drain a build-up of brain fluid that was putting pressure on his optic nerve.
Over the next five months, Tom was in hospital three times a week to undergo chemotherapy and then radiotherapy, with one intensive round of treatment causing him to collapse into his mum's arms as it induced a violent seizure.
He said: 'I had five straight days of different chemotherapy treatments, and at one point I had a bad recation and collapsed in my mum's arms.
'I had a seizure, and I was unconscious until the next morning.
'My mum said she didn't think I was going to make it.'
The treatment severely affected Tom's schooling, but he was supported by a tutor provided by the school.
He said: 'I missed a lot of Year 9, but the school was so supportive - I couldn't have got these results without them.'
The tumour was 'the making of him', according to Tom's dad, Mike.
He said: 'He was not a model student - he was failing a few subjects. But after he got the all-clear, something clicked and he realises life is for living. He even became Head Boy.'
Tom, whose cancer went into remission in May, added: 'I think of it not as the end of my treatment, but as the begining of my new life.'
He received one 4, one 5, three 6s, and one 7 in physical education in his exam results.
Tom is hoping to study sports science at Barton Peveril College, and wants to become a professional rugby player.