POSTED: 6:42 pm EDT April 28, 2006
UPDATED: 8:13 pm EDT April 28, 2006
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A young woman who was told seven years ago that she may never walk, talk, and may have trouble learning graduated from college Friday.
raduation day is one of the proudest days in most college students’ lives. But for Jennifer Barry, whose life nearly ended when she was a teenager, graduating was even more special.
In 1999, Barry suffered traumatic injuries in a traffic accident. Doctors told her parents to prepare for the worst.
“(Doctors said) She may not be able to walk. She may never talk. She may never do anything,” said Barry’s mother, Debbi Barry.
However, seven years later, the Barry family got that and a lot more — their daughter graduated from college.
“The doctors weren’t sure. They didn’t know. It’s kind of was what was in my core,” said Barry.
Instead of giving up on life, Barry fought for her life, and her passions. Just six months after the accident, Barry was on stage performing ballet.
“Dancing, and having that strength really helped me get through my accident,” Barry said.
Dancing was the first challenge, but the greater challenge was something Barry continues to fight.
“The average person would look at me and wouldn’t see anything wrong,” Barry said.
However, the accident left Barry’s brain damaged, making college courses sometimes difficult for the high school honor student.
“She doesn’t want to tell them that she has a brain injury. She definitely would not want to tell anybody. She wants to try everything she can on her own,” Barry’s mother said.
“In school, it was my main challenge. Big challenges were distractions and focusing,” Barry said.
Barry received a business degree in marketing from the University of North Florida. She said dance is still her passion, but she plans to make her career in the fashion world.
“Everything just means so much more now. I mean, I could not be here right now,” Barry said.
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