Student overcomes illness to achieve exam success

Oliver Sapier spent the first two years of his life in hospital and has battled with a debilitating health condition ever since.

Oliver Sapier
Oliver Sapier

But today the Leeds teenager was celebrating after passing 10 GCSEs.

Oliver, who is a pupil at the Grammar School at Leeds, picked up three A*s, six As and 2 Bs. He said he was ‘overwhelmed’ when he saw his results.

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He said: “My school years have been difficult because I have had so much time off due to illness, but I was determined to do well in my GCSEs.

“I have worked really hard and had no social life for the last six months but it has paid off.”

A chronic bowel condition means that Oliver is in constant pain and takes a raft of medications a day. He is also fed intravenously overnight five times a week, although he is hoping to reduce the feeds gradually.

He says a turning point came last year when he trained on his own for the Big Leeds Bike Ride.

When he completed the 100km ride from Roundhay to York and back, raising just under £5,000 for the Leeds Children’s Hospital Appeal, it gave his confidence a huge boost.

The teenager from Alwoodley said: “I thought to myself enough is enough now, I want to prove that I’m no different to anyone else.

“I have done that and today is a dream come true.”

Another student celebrating at the independent school, in Alwoodley, today was top chess player Harry Li who picked up 10 A*s to add to the A* in Mandarin which he achieved two years ago.

The Horsforth teenager is to represent England in the World Youth Chess Championships in Durban, South Africa, from September 18 to 30.