Denton, TX- A young woman overcame many obstacles to be able to walk across the stage at her college graduation from the University of North Texas at Denton.
Emily Hernandez knows life can change in the blink of an eye.
"I was still the same up here. I was still the same in here. I just couldn't walk," said Emily.
In 2009, she was driving to class at the University of North Texas when her truck hit a guard rail-and flew off a bridge on Interstate 820.
Her friend in the car died.
And Emily barely survived.
"I broke my neck and my back, my shoulder and my wrist, my ribs, my lungs collapsed twice and my brain hemorrhaged," she said.
The recovery wasn't easy, and the rest of her life wouldn't be either.
She was told she would never walk again.
Emily was in a dark place, but she vowed to push forward.
Especially, when it came to getting her education.
"If I could've done this when I was walking, then what do my legs have anything to do with me not being able to do it," Emily said.
She saw it as a challenge.
And while she was earning her degree, the support came pouring in.
Members of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity and the UNT community raised money for Emily.
She wanted to do something very special on graduation day.
"My mind was just blown. I was just amazed that someone was willing to put that kind of faith in me," Emily said.
The money was used to pay for special leg braces that would help Emily walk across the stage.
And, she did just that.
Today, she is a few steps closer to her dream of becoming an art history teacher.
"Now, I'm standing. Now, I'm strong. Now, I am a force to be reckoned with," she said.
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