OLIVER SAPIER’S mother describes him as a “fighter” – a modest appraisal, given his story of triumph.
Born with a chronic bowel condition, the 16-year-old spent the first years of his life in hospital, where doctors were not sure he would live beyond his second birthday.
But he fought back, and last week proved his “mind-over-matter” approach had paid off when he attained three A*s, six As and two Bs in his GCSEs. Remarkably, Oliver, a pupil at the Grammar School of Leeds (GSAL), did it all without using a pen. After breaking his hand a week before his exams, he dictated every answer to an external examiner.
“The most difficult part was having to say all the punctuation marks, like full stops and commas,” he said.
He said his high marks came as a surprise, despite the fact that he worked hard and virtually gave up his social life for six months. Growing up in Alwoodley, Leeds, his temperamental health meant he missed large periods of time from school. This, coupled with the fact that he is fed overnight five times a week via a tube, meant academic success was not a high priority.
“I was often tired and