GETTING the exam results you wanted is always a great moment, but for one Bridlington student it was a major milestone in his life.
Six years ago, at the age of 10, Dan Dickinson had surgery to remove a cancerous brain tumour.
In what his mum Caroline, 45, now believes was “just bad luck” a rare side effect of the operation left her son unable to do anything but hear.
Now, after six years of fighting back, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, endless hospital stays and visits and a great deal of courage, Dan is beginning to make a new life.
In June this year he was officially “cured” of the disease which hung over him and his mother like a black cloud, and the sun really came through for the Bridlington School student when he got his GCSE results just before the end of last month.
His B and four C grades mean he can continue into the sixth form and take A levels in Maths, his favourite subject, and Business.
The result is all the more remarkable because due to his treatment Dan missed most of his year 6 and then much of year 7 lessons due to chemotherapy and hospital appointments. Also, while Dan can hear and understand everything he is taught his handwriting and typing is slow and for the most part he has to rely on bullet points.
“It is really down to his determination and the support he has been given at Bridlington School. They have been marvellous,” said Caroline.
It was the school that suggested Dan took fewer subjects so he could concentrate on the ones he really wanted.
“It was a gamble but it paid off,” said Caroline and praised the staff and in particular Dan’s teaching assistant Bruce Oliver.
Dan is delighted at the outcome as it means he can continue in the sixth form and go for his A levels.
His exam success is just one of his many achievements in the past six years – not least the staggering sum of £13,000 which he and his many supporters, not least his mum, helped raise for children’s cancer charities and specialist hospital wards. Money came in through an annual Daniel Dickinson Fun Day, held on Bridlington Football Club’s ground close to his Queensgate home, and many other sponsored events.
“It was all a lot of hard work, but it helped keep me focused and helped us get through,” said Caroline.
The need to concentrate on getting those GCSEs meant Dan’s last fund raising effort was a sponsored walk across the Humber Bridge in 2010.
However, he is hoping to persuade his mum to take part in the Great North Run to raise more money to help others.
Life is now much better than it was. Another breakthrough came last week with the installation of a wet room at their home in Queensgate.
“It meant he was able to bathe himself for the first time,” said Caroline.
He still needs a wheelchair although he can manage to get about the house, but his next self-imposed challenge is a big one.
“What he really wants to do next is to be able to walk again, and that’s what he is going to try and achieve,” said Caroline.