Girl defies all odds on ‘path to straight As’
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Pretoria – Being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the start of her matric year did not derail 18-year-old Samantha Pretorius’s plan of straight As in all her eight subjects – which she achieved despite being hospitalised during her final exams.
Before being diagnosed last January, the Hoërskool Zwartkop pupil lost feeling in her legs. After lots of tests she was ultimately diagnosed with MS, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that often disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body.
During her final exams, Pretorius had a relapse and was admitted to hospital for a couple of days.
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However, staying in a hospital bed was never an option for her and doctors discharged her to continue with her exams. The day after she was discharged she went to school to write her second physical science paper. She returned to hospital after writing her four remaining subjects.
The diagnosis meant almost nothing to Pretorius who has carried on with her life as normal.
“The doctors suggested no sport, but Sam being a real go-getter and the most positive person you will ever meet, decided that she will not let this keep her back,” said her mother Charmain Pretorius.
Pretorius still took part in athletics, netball and softball.
She said although she was diagnosed with MS, for her it meant “My Story” and she started motivating people wherever she went and has touched many lives.
Pretorius remains optimistic and plans to study chemistry and education and become a maths teacher.
At the age of 9, fellow pupil Elisca Marais, 18, was diagnosed with type one diabetes, but she still managed to obtain seven distinctions.
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She said being diabetic was a blessing in disguise. “It gave me the reason to go on and realise my purpose in life,” said Marais.
Initially she struggled to accept her condition. “The day I accepted my condition was the day I actually had a life.”
She said living with diabetes had affected her studies both negatively and positively. She plans to study towards a career in human physiology, genetics and psychology at the University of Pretoria.