Chad Sam, who wrote matric while suffering a great deal of pain due to a tumour behind his eye, and his mother Melanie Sam. The tumour was removed after Chad finished his matric examinations. Picture: Bheki Radebe/ANA

Cape Town - A tumour the size of a tennis ball, growing behind his eye, was not enough to prevent a Grassy Park High School pupil from completing his matric year and passing.

Chad Sam, 18, from Strandfontein, began his Grade 12 year with hopes of achieving top results. However, this all changed last September, a month before he was set to write his final exams, when a giant osteoma tumour was discovered behind his left eye.

“My eye started protruding and I had constant headaches and pain,” Chad told Weekend Argus. Luckily for the avid sportsman, doctors diagnosed the tumour as benign (non-cancerous).

Despite the daily pain that he endured, the determined young man decided to undergo surgery to remove the tumour only after he’d finished writing his final exam on December 5, as he knew that surgery before exams would prevent him from writing, due to a long recovery period. However, writing his exams with constant pain meant he had to take heavy pain medication. He said that on most days, the pain rated at 10 on a scale from one to 10.

“Some mornings I felt like I couldn’t get up.”

Then there were days he felt like dropping out of school, but he pushed himself to get out of bed every day and study and pull through his final exams.

Although he was not happy with his results, as he failed maths and physics, Chad plans to rewrite both subjects next year. He is hoping to obtain at least 70% in these subjects, and possibly a distinction as well.

His mother, Melanie Sam said seeing Chad suffer was extremely difficult, but she was proud he hadn’t given up.

Chad wants to become a firefighter to help people and give back to the community.

Weekend Argus