A STUDENT who battled a brain tumour has graduated from university with first class honours.

Rachel Hughes was just 17 years old when she was diagnosed with a benign brain tumour situated on her pituitary gland.

She had to take a variety of medication to control her hormones, in the hope it would shrink the tumour, as it was sitting close to the optic nerve.

Ms Hughes, who comes from Conwy, said: “It was a very stressful time as I was right in the middle of completing my A levels.

“Shortly after the diagnosis, the medication seemed to be working and I was finally feeling somewhat normal. However, things became much worse at the start of 2013. I was experiencing a number of side effects from my medication, including dizziness, headaches, nausea, insomnia and loss of appetite, resulting in losing two stone in six months.

“I found out the tumour had grown back to its original size and had to try two other medications, both of which gave me the same side effects. I was told to stop taking the tablets and that undergoing brain surgery was the last option.”

Due to her illness, Rachel didn’t achieve the results she needed to go to university and was forced to stay on an extra year.

In January 2014, she had brain surgery which had a seven week recovery period. She worked harder than ever after the surgery and managed to get the grades she needed to start at Edge Hill in September 2014.

“When I started at Edge Hill, I was put in touch with the counselling service and it was a relief to know this was available when I needed it.

“My personal tutor was so supportive throughout the three years, and even though I didn't need to ask for extensions or resubmit any assignments, I was confident that there was always someone to talk to.

“Due to my illness and surgery I lost a lot of confidence, but thanks to my time at Edge Hill, my confidence grew enough to go to America in the summer of 2016 to work as a camp counsellor. While I was there I travelled to Washington DC, Boston, Philadelphia and New York City. Edge Hill has helped me to finally enjoy life.

“While I still have many symptoms that I have to cope with on a day to day basis, I will always remember and cherish my time at Edge Hill and I am delighted to discover that I have been awarded a first class honours degree. This is something I never thought was possible five years ago.”

Ms Hughes has now graduated with a First Class Honours Degree in Child Health and Wellbeing and plans to take some time out and travel to a number of countries.

She then hopes to secure employment in the childcare sector, before returning to Edge Hill to complete a Master’s Degree.