When Nekhidia Harris was born 24 years ago, doctors told her parents she likely wouldn’t live more than three days. Since then, she’s done far more than defy the odds, and graduated with honors from Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, New York City, this week.
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As a result of several medical conditions — including brittle bones — Harris has endured dozens of fractures and numerous surgeries throughout her life, WABC-TV reported. But she wouldn’t let anything stop her from walking across the stage to accept her diploma on Wednesday.
Harris tried to explain to the outlet how she felt in that moment.
“I was like, oh my gosh, this is really, really happening,” she said. “Oh my gosh, I thank God every day.
“I feel so excellent,” Harris continued. “After the hard work, the sleepless night sometimes, all-nighters, it feels really good that I accomplished my bachelor’s in social work.”
Nekhidia’s father, Michael Harris, said that although his daughter is small in stature (about the height of toddler), it has not held her back from accomplishing her goals.
“No one has shunned her,” he explained. “Nobody treats her differently, because they see her as tall as they are.”
In fact, Nekhidia has a nonprofit to help others with disabilities press forward to achieve their own dreams.
Nekhidia plans to continue her education by pursing a master’s degree in social work at York College, and she already knows how she’ll use it.
“I like to help people, and especially children,” she told WABC. “I also have a voice, and I love children. They gravitate to me, so I want to help them in every way I can.”