19 year old Shannon Thompson from Merseyside joined Liverpool Life Sciences UTC in 2014 to study A Levels in biology, chemistry and maths. She chose the UTC because of its special focus on these technical subjects and the UTC's partnership with key employers within the science and healthcare sectors.

Dealing with difficult news

Early in 2015, Shannon received devastating news - she was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, a rare form of cancer, and was told that she would have to undergo several months of gruelling chemotherapy to cure it.

Regardless of her struggles against the disease, Shannon continued with her studies at the UTC as well as participating in many fundraising activities, including Race For Life and Liverpool Life Sciences UTC's Brave the Shave event last year, which she helped to coordinate.

Because of her personal circumstances, Shannon developed an interest in health research. UTC staff supported her interests and arranged for Shannon to participate in projects with the organisations that the UTC is partnered with, including Liverpool University, Royal Society of Chemistry and The Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust. Recently, Shannon helped to develop a ‘chill-out room’ for 16 to 24-year-old cancer patients in partnership with Royal Liverpool Hospital and The Teenage Cancer Trust.

Finding a pathway

During her time at the UTC, Shannon developed a clear idea of where she wanted to be after finishing her studies. With an ambition to study chemistry at university and then go on to work for Cancer Research, Shannon persevered with her studies through the most difficult stages of her cancer treatment.

Taking strides

She got the all-clear at the beginning of the year and achieved the A☆A☆A that she needed to pursue the career she wanted. Shannon is off the Edinburgh University to study chemistry, and she plans to work for Cancer Research after completing her degree.

Shannon said:

I can’t believe it, I am so happy. I wouldn’t have got here without the amazing support of the UTC and my family right the way through my diagnosis. I honestly couldn’t have asked for more.

I am now going on and will hopefully work in Cancer Research one day, which is my dream.

Principal, Phil Lloyd said:

The UTC is driven by seeing its students meet their aspirations. Shannon has been an exceptional student during her time at the UTC. She has shown exceptional talent and relentless ambition; I am so pleased to see her successfully and deservedly taking her next steps.

Liverpool Life Sciences UTC is a school for 14-19 year olds that offers students the opportunity to study for specialist technical qualifications in science and healthcare as part of their GCSE and A Level curriculum. The UTC works with leading employers in these sectors and the University of Liverpool. These business and academic partners help to shape the UTC's innovative curriculum that combines traditional academic with technical and practical learning and includes real-life research projects and work experience programmes. Students leaving the UTC move on to university, apprenticeship or straight into a job.

Visit the Liverpool Life Sciences UTC website to find out more.

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