A TEENAGER who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF) as a baby will take up a place at Cambridge University this week.

Joe-Joe Boyes will study for a degree in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic at King’s College.

The 19-year-old, who lives in Ellerburn, with his dad David and mum Katherine, along with two sisters and a brother, was selected for a place following an interview last year.

Despite suffering a year of ill-health while studying at Lady Lumley’s sixth form, Joe-Joe secured the university place after gaining an A* and two As in his A-levels.

Joe-Joe’s mum Katherine said it was a great achievement for him.

“We are absolutely thrilled for him, particularly as he has had several periods of ill-health and hospitalisation during his school years,” she said.

“He also had to have quite a lot of time off when he was in the lower sixth so he stayed for another year and the school and staff were incredibly supportive.”

Katherine said she had first spotted issues with Joe-Joe’s health when he was eight months old.

“He was moving on to solids but his weight was going down,” she said. “We took him to Scarborough Hospital where he was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.”

Since then Joe-Joe has been on daily medication with regular check-ups at St James’s Hospital in Leeds.

Katherine said: “He is on loads of medication, which is largely preventative, however there are other conditions which can result from CF, including diabetes and kidney failure, so he has regular check-ups every four to six weeks.”

CF a genetic disorder that affects mostly the lungs, but also the pancreas, liver, kidneys and intestine. Long-term issues include difficulty breathing and coughing up mucus as a result of frequent lung infections. There is no cure for CF, but a range of treatments can help control the symptoms and make the condition easier to live with.

Katherine ran the London Marathon in 2002 to raise funds for research into CF, taking Joe-Joe on her training in his buggy.

“Going to university will be a big challenge for Joe-Joe, but he is ready to move on and so passionate for his subject,” she said. “When we went to an open day at Cambridge he slotted in so well and was over the moon when he was offered a place.

“Of course we are nervous, but there is extremely good medical and disability support at King’s College.

“As a mum you do worry about him, but he is ready to stand on his own two feet and we are very proud of him.”

Joe-Joe said his first year at sixth form had been hard.

“I was in hospital for a few weeks and missed lots of lessons, so the first year was quite difficult, so I did another year to catch up,” he said.

Joe-Joe said having CF did have an impact on his life due to the medication he has to take each day.

“It can take half an hour at the start and end of every day to take all the medicine and it is difficult to eat out at restaurants due to the need to avoid certain foods,” he said.

Joe-Joe, who hopes to become an academic, said he had chosen his degree after reading about the tales of King Arthur and Robin Hood as a boy.

He said: “I fell in love with the period as there is so much depth and so much to uncover. I really wanted to do a degree in the period and was delighted to find the course and be offered a place.

“I am really pleased to be able to study at Cambridge University and I am looking forward to getting started.”