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Ben Thomas from Sittingbourne scores top GCSE grades from Borden Grammar School after defying the odds

By Poppy Jeffery

A schoolboy who has continuously defied the odds has once again made his mum proud after securing top GCSE grades.

When Sarah Vickery, 39, was pregnant with her son Ben Thomas, she was told to expect the worst after doctors found a cyst on his lung.

At 27 weeks and while still in the womb, he underwent an operation to insert a chest drain which allowed him to grow.

Ben Thomas and his mum Sarah Vickery
Ben Thomas and his mum Sarah Vickery

Sarah, who lives in Medway Close, Sittingbourne, said: “The cysts multiplied and got so bad that they were crushing the good lung.

“It was quite a risky operation as it was near his heart. The probability of him living through pregnancy was practically nothing, but at 37 weeks he was born.”

But at only nine days old Ben stopped breathing at home and was rushed to Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham.

Ben Thomas when he was in hospital as a baby
Ben Thomas when he was in hospital as a baby

His mum, a nurse, said: “He was transferred to Great Ormond Street, where they said there was no brain activity.

“I had to plead with them not to give up on him and they brought him round – they were going to turn off life support."

“It was horrendous but it’s a miracle he’s here.”

He had one lung removed at two weeks old and since then has struggled with multiple health issues, including scoliosis, caused by the imbalance in his chest. His heart has also moved to under his left arm.

Despite his battles with ill health, Borden Grammar pupil Ben, 16, who cannot do any sport, secured six As, three Bs and a C.

Mum-of-three Sarah said: “I am so proud. For him to even have got into grammar school is amazing and he beats the odds over and over again.”

Ben Thomas in his first year at Borden Grammar
Ben Thomas in his first year at Borden Grammar

Sarah’s husband Matthew died suddenly three years ago from a pulmonary embolism. At the weekend, the family marked what would have been
Matthew’s birthday along with celebrating Ben’s GCSE grades.

He will now stay at Borden for sixth form and will study physics, biology, drama and film.

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