DENTON, Texas -
A young woman who has had to overcome life-changing obstacles was able to accomplish her goal of graduating from the University of North Texas at Denton.
However, Emily Hernandez did not have the same motivations to walk the stage as most other graduates.
Hernandez barely survived a horrendous accident in 2009 which killed a friend in her vehicle. She was driving to class at UNT when her truck hit a guard-rail in Saginaw and flew off a bridge on Interstate 820. She is paralyzed from the waist down.
She suffered serious injuries including a broken neck and back, her lungs collapsed twice and her brain hemorrhaged.
The recovery wasn’t easy for Emily. She was told she would never walk again but she vowed to push forward. Her goal was to be able to walk across the stage on graduation day.
While Emily studied hard to earn two degrees, one in visual arts studies and the other in studio art, members of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity and the UNT community raised money to pay for special leg braces that would help Emily be able to walk again.
It took years of physical therapy to get Emily where she is today. In fact, one of her therapists, Candice Mitchell at SporTherapy in Fort Worth helped Emily walk across the stage on Saturday. Candice is familiar with that stage. She too is a UNT graduate. The president of Pi Kappa Phi Taylor Lindholm, also had the honor of walking with Emily on stage. He was a crucial part of fundraising for Emily’s leg braces. His fraternity focuses on helping people with disabilities.
Emily is now just a few steps closer to her next big dream of becoming an art history teacher.
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