Tom O'Sullivan

"I have no desire to sit about and waste my time; I want to make the most of my life." 

These are the words of Tom O'Sullivan, a 22-year-old student who has had a brain tumour for the last four years, and yet continues to achieve things young people in the rudest health would be proud of. Tom has been nominated for our Student in a Million Inner Strength award. 
Being made aware of his condition just three months before his final A-level exams, Tom had two operations during the revision period, making the exams hard enough to take, let alone pass.

When he opened his results in August, he found he had achieved an A* in physics, an A* in chemistry, and an A in maths - more than enough to gain him the place he wanted at the University of Bristol studying mechanical engineering.

However, at the end of his first year following many months of horrible side-effects to the tumour, Tom was told his condition was cancerous and terminal. So, to get the treatment he needed, he left university.

After a year of chemotherapy, Tom returned to university. "I did it for myself", he recalls. Since returning, Tom managed to pass his first year despite further progression of the tumour. It's not just himself that he has satisfied: his sheer tenacity in the face of such adversity has inspired a multitude of fellow students.

According to his professor, Tom has battled through these setbacks with "incredible determination" and, in second year, he was awarded one of the highest first-class marks in his year for a project in which he designed a car front suspension. 

Despite Tom's debilitating condition, his academic work is "consistently outstanding" and, amazingly, he looks forward to going into third year with as much ambition as before. He hopes to specialise in shipbuilding and nautical engineering, which is his favourite pastime and passion. 

Aside from his academic work, Tom remains a keen sailor and has volunteered to help disabled children into the activity. When asked to describe himself, he said he's somebody interested in how everything works, adding that he also loves cars and engines.