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Saturday, July 20, 2024

17-year-old boy born with rare medical conditions defies all odds to survive, wins UK Achievers award

A 17-year-old boy named Callum Miles who was born with a rare medical condition has defied the odds to survive as he was awarded an Educational Achievers award in Northern Ireland, United Kingdom.

Callum was born with a rare congenital form of Acrocephalosyndactylia, commonly known as Pfeiffer’s Syndrome and he is the only one in Northern Ireland living with the condition.

The disorder causes the premature fusion of certain skull bones while in the womb, and this early fusion prevents the skull from growing normally, affecting the shape of the head and face, while also causing other problems, such as difficulty eating and swallowing.

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Callum has had over 60 surgeries ever since he was born which has in turn affected both his personal and academic life but despite all of the setbacks and challenges, he overcame proving his doctors wrong.

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“I was told I wouldn’t be able to go to mainstream school, but I did, and I have gone on to pass all my GSCEs, and I’m now studying for my A-Levels. I was so scared when I got my exam results letter as I really didn’t want to have failed, but was so proud of myself to see how well I passed everything,”  he said.

“My doctors told me there’d be a lot of things I couldn’t do when I was older. Things like riding a bike or go swimming. I’ve proved them all wrong,” he added.

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He was awarded the Prince’s Trust Ascential Educational Achiever Award for Northern Ireland. The recognizes young people who have overcome barriers to improve their educational prospects.

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Callum has now been nominated for the overall UK awards, where he will be up against children from Scotland, England, and Wales. He is a student at St Patrick’s Grammar, Armagh in the United Kingdom who took part in The Prince’s Trust Achieve program.

The Prince’s Trust Achieve program is a two-year initiative delivered in schools to help students learn new skills and improve confidence. Callum obtained the Level 2 Achieve Award, equivalent to grade B at GCSE.

He stated that he aims to now finish his A-Levels, choosing subjects in Health and Social Care, ICT, and Applied Business, adding that he has plans to go to university and continue his studies.

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Callum also hopes to train as a coach so that he can help children and adults with physical needs overcome their fear of getting into fitness and help improve their physical and mental health.

“For anyone like me struggling with a disability, I just want to say never give up, and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Keep pushing and keep trying because that’s what I did and now I can do all sorts of things. Anything is possible,” he said.

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