A young Rhymney student who overcame cancer has gone on to win a prestigious learning award.
Craig Bannan, aged 20, won the IT Practitioners Award at an awards ceremony held in Caerphilly Castle that celebrated the achievements of over 50 students of The College Ystrad Mynach.
Craig was first diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2009. His illness forced him to leave college, having enrolled on the BTEC Level 3 National course in IT, to receive treatment and concentrate on his recovery.
After seemingly overcoming cancer, he re-enrolled at The College Ystrad Mynach a year later.
Having starting his course at the second attempt Craig unfortunately suffered a relapse. However, he decided that he was not going to drop out and was determined to complete the course while receiving treatment.
During the year, Craig underwent an intensive course of treatment and rehabilitation, including two operations and chemotherapy.
(Craig, pictured above, receiving his award from guest speaker at the event, Victoria Winckler, Bevan Foundation)
Despite enduring such gruelling medical treatment, the 20 year-old logged into the college’s online system every day to check for any work to be completed and any outstanding deadlines.
Happily, Craig is now in remission and completed his course without requesting any extensions or revised deadlines.
Craig was nominated for the IT Practitioners Award by his course tutor, Sharon Young, who was impressed with his attitude and contribution to the course. The award celebrates those who have achieved excellence on the course, which specialises in computer programming, maintenance and networking and business administration.
He is now studying for an accountancy qualification and plans to go to university to study chartered accountancy.
“The second time I was diagnosed I thought to myself ‘I’ve got to do this course or it’s my life over. I can’t let this get in the way again.’ I stayed on the course and worked from home. Having the work to do gave me the incentive to battle through my problems and to succeed.
“It was tough working through the time of having treatment but the teachers always supported me with my workload.
“I logged into our college system any time I felt well to check if there was any work to do or deadlines. The tutors always let me know if there were any problems and my girlfriend and family have been a great support.”
Bryn Davies, Principal of The College Ystrad Mynach, said:
“Craig is an inspiration to us all and is a testament to those battling with adversity. The strength it must have taken to beat cancer, whilst also continuing his studies, is astonishing.
“We also pride ourselves in our teaching staff and the teachers are always here to support every student in every way they can, which is clearly the case here, as we did everything we could to support Craig with his course and also his overall wellbeing.”