Brave youngster battles illness to succeed at A levels

Amber Scary. Picture: John Aron.
Amber Scary. Picture: John Aron.

A brave teenager has spoken out about her battle to overcome a serious illness and secure a place at one of the country’s top universities.

Amber Scary was determined to ensure her world did not fall apart when she was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) 12 months ago.

Amber, who lives in the Skegness area, had to call a halt to her studies at Horncastle’s Queen Elizabeth Grammar School halfway through her A-Levels.

Working mainly from home - and with support from family and friends - she overcame the many side-effects of her illness to pass her A-Levels.

Amber revealed there were times in her exams when she struggled to see and could not even write properly - because of CFS.

Last Thursday, she returned to QEGS to pick up her results.

Impressive grades mean she will take a place at either Cambridge or Bath University.

Amber has decided to tell her story, hopefully to inspire other teenagers not to give in to health issues - no matter how serious they might be.

Amber said: “I really enjoyed school, but when I was in the Lower Sixth Form, I began to feel tired and unwell.

“I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but from the start I was determined to stay positive. I wasn’t going to let it beat me.”

Amber admitted it would have been easy to walk away from her studies.

She added: “It was hard in the exams.

“All I wanted to do was fall asleep!

“There were times when my vision was really bad. Other times, I couldn’t write properly but I wasn’t going to give in.”

Amber, who picked up several awards at QEGS before illness struck, faced an anxious last few weeks waiting for her results.

She was offered a place at Cambridge to study Psychology with Bath as back up.

Amber admitted there was a sense of joy and relief when she looked at her results.

She was five marks short of the required entry for Cambridge but is hoping the university will take her.

If not, she is ‘more than happy’ to attend Bath.

Wherever she studies, Amber is determined not to give in to CFS.

She added: “I hope that what I’ve done shows what is possible - if you stay positive.”


Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a long-term illness with a wide range of symptoms.

The most common symptom is extreme tiredness.

Other symptoms include:

•sleep problems

•muscle or joint pain


•sore throat or sore glands

•problems thinking, remembering or concentrating

•feeling dizzy or sick

•fast or irregular heartbeats

There’s no specific medication for treating CFS/ME.

Some people make a full recovery. Others continue to have symptoms or periods when their symptoms get worse.