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She Couldn't Attend Her Own Graduation, so Ceremony Came to Her

Monday, March 30, 2009 - 5:03pm

She’s fighting a debilitating illness to fulfill her dream of becoming a medical assistant. Emily Turner shows us how this remarkable young lady is celebrating even though she had to miss her own graduation.

22-year-old Bria Henderson suffers from sickle cell anemia and has spent most of her life in and out of hospitals. “I have sharp pains going up from my back up into my head and it feels like its about to explode. It gets really tight or my whole body is throbbing.” Bria decided to pursue a career in healthcare, so she could help others with illnesses like hers. She enrolled in the Medvance Institute here in Baton Rouge, but just a few weeks into classes she was too sick to go to school.

She did her schoolwork from her hospital bed. Bria made it through the nine-month program without anything below a B. Saturday she was supposed to graduate, but instead of walking across the stage to get her diploma, she was walking into a hospital, again. Today, she had her won graduation ceremony at home. Medvance Campus Director Russ Battiata explains, “She wills herself through anything she does. She’s one of the strongest people I know.” Representatives from Medvance say Bria is a special student and it’s the first time they’ve ever hand-delivered a diploma to a student. “Being able to have that piece of paper saying that I’m finished means the world to me.”

Medvance says its students are ready to enter the workforce as soon as they graduate.