SURVIVOR: 18-year-old beats cancer twice at Oxford University (Picture: n/a)
A TEEN has taken his place at Oxford University after beating cancer for the second time.
Zac Giles, from Southampton, was diagnosed with a potentially fatal and life-limiting rare genetic condition called acute lymphoblastic leukemia when he was just nine years old.
With the help of the blood cancer charity, DKMS, and a blood stem cell transplant from a stranger, he was given a second chance at life and started his studies at the best university this year.
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After his diagnosis, Zac’s best shot at life was to receive a blood stem cell transplant from someone who was genetically similar to him, but unfortunately no one in his family was a match.
Only one in three patients will find a matched donor within their family, which means two out of three have to rely on a stranger registering with a charity like DKMS.
Zac, now 18, registered with the charity a few years ago and received his first stem cell transplant in 2017, but due to complications he had to look for a donor again three years later.
After two transplants and missing most of Years 5, 8, and 11, Zac hasn’t given up on his academic interests.
His fascination with politics grew while watching the EU referendum and after the 2017 and 2019 elections in hospital.
This eventually prompted him to apply for Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) at Oxford.
Over the summer, DKMS arranged a trip for Zac to the Houses of Parliament and he also had the opportunity to visit and attend debates and select committee meetings.
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The teenager said he was very grateful to have a second chance at life thanks to a stranger who donated his blood stem cells.
Learn more about this author
This story was written by Gee Harland. She joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.
Gee covers Wallingford, Wantage and Didcot.
Get in touch with her by emailing: [email protected]
Follow her on Twitter @Geeharland
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