Congratulations Hugh Atkinson – YAL Post-Secondary Scholarship Recipient 2017 Published on 16 February 2018

Congratulations Hugh Atkinson – YAL Post-Secondary Scholarship Recipient 2017

Hugh is completed year 12 last year and has gained entry to Murdoch University in 2018. His chosen course is Exercise Physiology, which will enable him to work as an injury and health rehabilitation specialist.

Hugh and his family have had a rough few years, which has taken its toll on his family. In 2013 his Mum was diagnosed with breast cancer and has had a long fight for survival. Just as Hugh’s mum was getting better in 2015, Hugh was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in his left calf bone which saw him have to commence a fight all of his own. The cancer caused significant financial burden on the family as they went from two incomes to one, something that they are still struggling with. Apart from the financial impact on the family, Hugh missed a large amount of year 10 as he struggled with fatigue from his treatment.

Hugh recognises that the statistics for young people with cancer that survive, suggest that because of the large amounts of school that they miss they don’t complete their education and don’t go on to any further studies and as such they are quite often unemployed and reliant on government assistance. Hugh refuses to be one of these statistics and has worked hard to ensure that he kept up with his classmates and was able to get back to his school as soon as he was able. He has maintained good grades and is on track to gain direct entry to university through his ATAR results. Surviving cancer has been his greatest challenge, his determination to achieve and not be a statistic was how he has done this.

Hugh is a keen cricketer and once coming to terms with his initial diagnoses, his next question to the surgeon was, will I be able to run and play cricket? Warned of what might happen, Hugh wasn’t prepared for a no to this question and so has undertaken aggressive physiotherapy to allow him to play a whole season this year. His hard work has seen him be offered the opportunity to play cricket in Oxfordshire England in 2018. Although this will see him defer University and his scholarship for a year he is excited to be given the opportunity.

Hugh is an incredibly passionate young man who comes from a family that have instilled strong values in him. He already speaks out for all children and adolescent survivors of cancer and believes that this will place him in a strong precision to act as an advocate for the YAL scholarship program.