St Ninian’s pupil overcomes rare medical condition to succeed

Zainab Alani was overjoyed when her results came through and confirmed she had gained 5 As at Higher (English, Maths, French, Human Biology, Chemistry).

Zainab Alani (17), from Newton Mearns, was delighted when she received her exam results.

It has been a tough year for the 17-year-old St Ninian’s pupil, having been diagnosed with a rare autoimmune condition called myasthenia gravis – a condition which affects just 15 people in every 100,000.

The condition causes muscle weakness and fatigue and there is no cure.

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Despite these challenges, Zainab worked extra hard to ensure she sat all her prelims and was preparing fully for the exams before they were halted.

Zainab's hard work and dedication has been rewarded with five As.

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This included returning to school after undergoing intensive surgery in early December 2019 at the Golden Jubilee Hospital.

The operation – a thymectomy to remove the thymus which controls the immune system – was carried out to help minimise the symptoms of her condition and give her the best quality life possible.

Zainab, from Newton Mearns, said: “When I was diagnosed with the condition it was quite frightening and then as part of my management plan I had to go in for surgery.

“I was in the hospital for five days after the operation and it took me a long time to recover from it, but as soon as I was able I wanted to get back to school so that I could get some normality back in my life.

“Having the support of my family throughout has been amazing and the school have given me a lot of support too – I can’t thank all the teachers enough.

“Now I want to pursue a career in medicine to give back to all the amazing nurses and doctors who have cared for me throughout this difficult time.

“I’m so delighted that I’ve got the results now which will hopefully help me go in the direction that I want to. When the exams were first cancelled it was a real shock because it has never happened before – not even during the War.

“So even though this pandemic has turned our lives upside down, I’m delighted that all the hard work I’ve put in has been recognised.

“It’s been a really difficult year and I’ve had so many things to deal with but I’ve stayed positive and am delighted with my results.”

Zainab will return to St Ninian’s, in Giffnock, for 6th Year to study Advanced Highers in Biology, Chemistry and Maths.