William Simpson, an extraordinary student from Painsley Catholic College, has not only survived multiple open-heart surgeries but also received a Chaplaincy award for his impact on Catholic life and has now achieved a remarkable set of results in his GCSE examinations and has started a T-Level qualification in Business and Administration at Painsley Sixth Form.

William's battle with heart disease began at a tender age, as he underwent his first open-heart surgery at just two months old. Subsequently, he faced two more surgeries at six and seven months old, all in a bid to save his young life.

His resilience shone through as he was placed on the transplant list at the tender age of two, remaining on the list for a staggering 14 years. However, after seven years, he was taken off the list due to deteriorating health, receiving the heart-breaking news to make the most of the time he had left.

Throughout his primary school years, William persevered despite missing numerous school days for appointments in London and frequent operations, occurring every three months.

His indomitable spirit carried him into Painsley High School in 2018, when he initially wasn't on the transplant list. However, toward the end of Year 7, doctors informed him that a valve replacement was necessary, as the original mechanical valve inserted during his early childhood was too small and damaged.

William has spent most of his life balancing his health challenges with his academic pursuits while trying to live a normal teenager's life. Despite the constant uncertainty surrounding his health, he persisted with his studies, displaying an unparalleled determination to succeed and was nominated as one of the College’s Head Boys in Year 11.

In December 2021, William was put back onto the transplant list. In 2022, he endured two false alarms for potential transplants. As he prepared for his GCSEs in May 2023, he had to juggle the demands of studying and revising while knowing that a life-changing call could come at any moment.

Miraculously, just three days after completing his GCSE exams, William received the call for a transplant. Within two weeks of the operation, he defied all expectations and was discharged from the hospital, astonishing not only his family but also the medical professionals involved.

Miraculously, just three days after completing his GCSE exams, William received the call for a transplant. 

In August 2023, he received his GCSE results, which include six passes, including a Grade 4 in English literature. His story is an inspiration to students everywhere, a reminder that perseverance, determination, and unwavering support can overcome even the most challenging obstacles.

Will was awarded the chaplaincy award for his service to the Catholic life of the college last year. 

The Chaplaincy award goes to outstanding individuals who have been instrumental in supporting and developing the spiritual life of the college and are  active members of their local parish community.

Mrs Waugh, Principal of Painsley High School, commented:

"From the start of his first days here in the college, William fully embraced the liturgical life by volunteering to participate in the year 7 Mass of welcome. This was just the start; he then became an active member of the chaplaincy crew participating in our liturgies and services, he soon took on the role as head server and guided and nurtured younger students to join him in this service role.  

"Through this public witness, this young man has become a role model for all. His love and commitment he has for his faith, shines through in everything he does, this was especially witnessed in his recent role as Jesus in our beautiful Easter liturgies last month.

"This young man has been of enormous help and support to the chaplaincy team over his 5 years here at Painsley." 

In addition, following this he went on to plan the liturgy with students for the whole college Mass attending meetings with Fr Eric and the staff representing the whole student body.  The college recorded parts of the Mass to share with him during his recovery.

William said: "My journey has been filled with ups and downs, but I've never let my health define me or my goals. Education has always been my beacon of hope, and I'm immensely proud of what I've achieved."

Principal Mrs Waugh added: "William's journey is a testament to his indomitable spirit, resilience, and dedication to education. His achievements are nothing short of remarkable.

"His dedication to his education and unwavering resilience are qualities we admire and celebrate at Painsley. He is an inspiration to us all.

"Throughout his time at Painsley  he has always been so highly thought of that staff and students raised money and purchased him an electric wheelchair so that he could access the school, even when his health was failing.

"William's story underscores the importance of a supportive community and the power of the human spirit. We congratulate William on his outstanding GCSE results and wish him continued success in all his future endeavours.”

Photo shows William with Mr Reynolds - Head of Computing and Will’s Emmaus tutor for all 5 years at Painsley.