Lucas inspired to study medicine after overcoming cancer as a child

Lucas Burgess (18) of Borrowash got three A* grades in Biology, Chemistry and Maths which means he can now study Medicine at the University of Nottingham.

Lucas felt anxious about getting his A level results, he said:

“It was very scary this morning knowing I had my results. Usually I just like to put things off. I wanted to get up, have a shower and have my breakfast but my Mum and Dad really wanted me to look at my results. I wasn’t sure whether I had done enough to get into Nottingham. I needed three A grades so I was still really unsure how it would go until I looked at them.

“Of course when I saw them I was very, very happy. I was shaking; it was more relief than anything. It’s really been on my mind as you spend so much time planning, looking at accommodation and the like but you’re not sure you’ll get what you need to get in.

“I had to go through quite a rigorous process, doing entrance exams and interviews. I also went on work experience. I spent a few days at the Royal Derby Hospital and then a week at the Queen’s Medical Centre.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time at Bilborough, it was the right choice for me and they have been so supportive and given me lots of help with careers advice and helping me get work experience. They have specialist support for people wanting to apply for medicine and I think if that wasn’t there I wouldn’t have known what to do.”

The teenager was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia at the age of 10 and following intensive treatment he went into remission five years ago.

He said: “It’s the most common form of leukaemia in children but it’s usually diagnosed in children much younger than me. It was hard but I took it all in my stride. I was at Redhill Primary School in Ockbrook and I still tried to go but had to have time off during my treatment.

“I had chemotherapy and that was intensive for the first six weeks and then began to spread out. I had it over a four-year period until I was 14 and I was at West Park School in Spondon, Derby, then. Since then I’ve been going back to Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham for regular checks and in September I’ll find out if I’m being officially discharged.

“It was quite debilitating as you can imagine. I lost my hair twice and sometimes I didn’t even have the energy to watch TV. I also struggled to sleep. It just became normal though, I was so young so it felt like I’d been going through it for a large proportion of my life.

“I was surrounded by doctors for a long period of my life and what I’ve been through has definitely been a factor in wanting to study Medicine, I just want to give something back and help people. I also know what people in hospital are going through.”