TOWSON, Maryland (WMAR) -- There are many obstacles students face when getting a college degree, some facing more than others. But for one Towson University student, taking years to defy the odds was well worth it.
Rakeem Bowdry is 30-years-old and ready with his cap and gown to graduate from Towson University with a degree in Communication Studies and a minor in Psychology. But getting to this exciting day wasn't always easy.
"It's been a journey, I started out as a freshman in Mississippi and had a tragic accident,” said Bowdry.
May 15, 2011, is a day that forever changed the life of Bowdry. He was 19 when an accident caused by a drunk driver left him with a spinal cord injury that paralyzed him from his chest down.
Wanting to receive the best medical care possible, Bowdry made his way to Baltimore.
"After just researching from different states I finally came across the Kennedy Krieger Institute and I came here and was able to get the therapy I need, and I stayed at the Ronald McDonald House,” said Bowdry.
After getting treatment at the Ronald McDonald House, he decided to make Baltimore his home.
"They really just helped me become the person I am now. It's the home away from home, a wonderful place. And I met people through them, I built a whole network of people,” said Bowdry.
Through that network, he got back into school. With encouragement he decided to further his education at Community College of Baltimore County. But he didn't stop there.
Getting a bachelor's from Towson University was the next step.
Bowdry said, "As far as my bachelor's, I was like you know what, I can do more and this is going to be for me and that's how I kept myself motivated.”
Although he faced obstacles being quadriplegic, he found the help he received kept him stable.
"Towson really helped me get the accommodations I needed to participate in class,” said Bowdry.
Now getting a degree against all odds, he's one step closer fulfilling his dreams of writing a book and opening a nonprofit to help others with spinal cord injuries.
He sends one message to those going through hardship when it comes to pursuing their goals.
"There's a bunch of steps to perseverance and once you start getting through those difference steps and you don't give up, you will succeed. There are great things ahead of you," said Bowdry.
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