'Illness hasn't ended my university dream'
TEENAGER Lauren Fawcett is to take up her place at Cambridge University – after studying for her A levels for up to 18 hours a day from her hospital bed.
The 18-year-old was left paralysed on one side of her body after being struck down by a mystery illness as she studied towards her final exams at Moorlands Sixth Form in Cheadle.
She was then forced to revise at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire as doctors tried to reach a diagnosis.
But after securing four A*s and an A, she is now looking to the future after being accepted at the prestigious university.
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Lauren, of Hall Drive, Weston Coyney, said: "It was horrible, I had never experienced anything like it before.
"It happened one day at college when I realised that my face felt numb on the left-hand side.
"I put it down to tiredness because I had been working so hard for my exams but soon I couldn't move my face at all."
Lauren was taken into hospital by ambulance for a CT scan a lumber puncture and several MRI scans.
But remained there for a week but was later discharged with steroids and told to stay off college for three months.
Lauren, who scored 100 per cent on some of her papers, said: "It was the lead up to my A-levels and I was determined not to let it get in the way of studying.
"I have wanted to go to Cambridge University since I was a child.
"But the tablets were making me feel very tired and they affected me quite a lot."
Despite her best efforts to catch up Lauren, was struck down with a second seizure in June that paralysed her down the right side of her body.
She said: "This time it was much worse and everything was numb.
"It affected my hands so I couldn't write properly, my legs wouldn't work and I was having regular nosebleeds.
"I was so determined to carry on that I would study for up to 18 hours a day in hospital.
"My parents kept telling me that my health was more important than a university place, but I didn't want to let it get to me."
Lauren sat her exams between hospital appointments.
She will now begin her law degree at Cambridge University on September 28.
She added: "I'm so pleased and looking forward to starting university.
"It was really touch and go as to whether I would be able to take the exams but I am a very determined person."
The doctors diagnosed Lauren with demyelination, disease of the nervous system.
But they are unsure what caused the condition and whether it will return.
Her mother Joanne, aged 43, a mental health nurse, said: "No-one has any information on what happened and it could come back.
"When the exams were nearly upon us and she was paralysed on the other side we were very worried for Lauren.
"But the results are absolutely fantastic and myself and Lauren's father, Harvey, could not be more proud of her for getting this far."