There may be many remarkable stories from this year’s GCSE examinations but few pupils can match the achievement of Lurgan girl Amy Uprichard.
The 16-year-old achieved two A*, six As and a B despite going through chemotherapy while taking her exams.
Although Amy is set to start a third round of gruelling chemotherapy treatment at Belfast City Hospital this week, she is not to be deterred from starting her AS levels.
Amy was diagnosed with leukaemia in May just weeks before she was set to take her important GCSEs. However she was determined not to let the cancer hold her back and sat her exams while going through an intensive course of chemo.
She also tried to get to the gym every day to keep up her fitness levels as she is determined to become a professional ballerina.
And while Amy remains totally determined to continue her dancing, she has decided to also continue her education and train as a nurse after her dancing career. She says her stay in hospital has inspired her towards the nursing profession. So she has chosen chemistry, biology, French and business studies as AS. “I still want to continue dancing but now I am looking at the possibility of going into nursing,” said Amy who attends the Jeanne Cree School of Ballet in Lurgan.
“Being in hospital has given me a completely new mind-set.”
Amy currently feels great but is under no illusions about the difficulties ahead. “I am doing well and I’m feeling great but this next course of chemo is going to be much harder as it is stronger,” she said.
The Banbridge Academy pupil said the school has been a great source of support during recent months.
She said her teachers were delighted with her exam results. “They didn’t expect me to do so well,” she said.
“I’m still in shock. It’s a sense of relief. I was in tears at one point.”
Amy has a completely new outlook on life now as she explained to the Mail. “It has really, really opened my eyes. I see things from a different perspective, what is really important and what you need to do to achieve.
“It’s going to be tough but everyone is behind me.”
She had particular praise for her mum and dad Stephen and Sarah Uprichard and her sisters Hannah, aged 14 and Gemma, aged 11. “They have been very supportive. They have given me everything I need.”
She also thanked the staff at Belfast City Hospital for their help. She said they had been amazing throughout her ordeal.