Brave Maria works through the pain to join the A-team

KEVI A level results 2012'Maria Jinks and Katie Leitch.
KEVI A level results 2012'Maria Jinks and Katie Leitch.

A BRAVE Morpeth student will fulfil her dream of studying medicine after overcoming a tumour to achieve straight-A exam success.

High-flying Maria Jinks was one of a number of students at King Edward VI School to celebrate a run of top grades at A-Level when the results were revealed last week.

And the achievement is all the more remarkable for the plucky 18-year-old as she attained the grades while battling back from a spinal tumour.

Now she is preparing to set off to Bristol University to study medicine after being inspired by the care she received.

“I had thought about a career in medicine before my tumour, but my experience has definitely strengthened the reasons for doing it,” she said.

Maria was diagnosed with the tumour in July 2008 and two months later went into Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital for an operation to remove it.

While there, her family home was wrecked in the Morpeth flood and when she was discharged Maria had to spend two weeks living between hotels with the rest of her family.

They eventually moved into temporary accommodation in Longhirst, but it was 14 months before they could return to their refurbished home off Cottingwood Lane.

Despite the disruption, Maria managed to return to school within a month of her operation for a short spell each week, and by December 2008 she was back full-time.

However, her treatment continued with intensive physiotherapy sessions and she has still not been fully discharged.

“It could be tough to balance the treatment with school, but you just have to manage it,” she said.

“It has been painful at times. Doing my exams was particularly painful from sitting at my desk for a long time, and also studying for the exams was hard. I was taking painkillers a lot. It definitely feels like it has been worth it now though.”

Maria achieved A-grades in biology, chemistry and maths.

“It was exciting getting the results because they are what I needed for the university course. I expected them in a way because I had put the work in, but you never know on the day,” she said.

l A and AS-Level results round-up, Pages 11-13