Triumph out of heartbreak

Reporter: Lucy Kenderdine
Date published: 23 August 2016

AN Oldham A-level student has defied expectations following the heartbreak of losing his brother.

Danyal Umar gained an A* and 2 As and now hopes to study medicine to become a doctor to help children and families affected by severe illness as his family was.

In May, Danyal was studying for his exams along with his classmates at Oldham Sixth Form College when he was dealt the tragic blow of his brother, Hasan, (18) losing his fight for life after battling three severe illness for most of his teenage life.

Hasan, a former Hathershaw College student, was thought to be the only person in the UK diagnosed with swine flue, bone marrow suppression and a shunt in his lung, relying on an oxygen tank from the age of 13 and used a wheelchair to get around.

The teenager had continued to stun doctors and his friends with his determination to live life to the fullest, even walking into his own secondary school prom in 2014, but his condition began to worsen early in 2016.

He died at home in Coppice on May 3, leaving his family heartbroken.

Danyal (19) said: "It was very difficult at the time. I had been trying to revise and go to the hospital with Hasan as much as I could.

"When he died we were all very upset but I wanted to get through my exams.

"I had to dig really deep and study, even when I didn't want to carry on.

"I wasn't sure how the exams went, I couldn't judge how I'd done on the day.

"I was hoping for C grades but when I saw that I'd received A* and two As I was overwhelmed.

"It felt amazing. I'd exceeded everyone's expectations."

Danyal is now getting ready to apply to university to study medicine and believes he has the real-life experience with his brother to become an effective consultant.

He said: "Hasan is my motivation and he is the reason why I want to go into medicine

"I know better than others what patients and families go though when someone is severely ill.

"I think it will may a huge difference to the way I am as a doctor."

Danyal is now beginning to look at his options for university, including possibilities of studying in Leeds, Manchester or Liverpool.

His father Tanweer was filled with pride for what his son had achieved in the face of such adversity.

He said: "I am extremely proud. Danyal was under such extreme circumstances and I told him to do what he could and hoped he would pass.

"For him to achieve those grades us fantastic and much more than we could have hoped for.

"He has always been interested in medicine but seeing how his brother was affected made him more determined to help other children like Hasan.

"I think he will make a great doctor as he will have compassion for families and patients and has the best motivation to make a difference - his brother."