Excelsior student with advanced ALS receives special graduation ceremony
Photo: Ron Miller graduates (Excelsior College)
NORFOLK, Va. – A 46-year-old man received a special graduation ceremony from Excelsior College Friday.
Ron Miller, a 46-year-old ventilator-assisted resident of Lake Taylor Transitional Care Hospital, is completely paralyzed from the nose down and has been living with ALS for the last 14 years.
He couldn't travel to graduation, so the graduation came to him.
Miller used eye-gaze computer technology to take classes and complete his degree. His motto is "I may have ALS, but it does not have me."
"When I started using an eye gaze computer I found that it reopened doors that had been long closed by ALS. Going back to school for me was driven by several things. First, it was unfinished business. I had started college over twenty years ago but let life get in the way. Second, I decided many years ago that ALS would be just part of my life and not my whole life. I found that I could still make a difference by raising awareness and sharing my experiences with others dealing with the disease. I have always been an advocate for living with ALS instead of dying from it. My success in school helps me show others that it's possible despite the challenges of ALS," Miller shared via his computer.
Ron's family and friends, representatives of the regional ALS Association chapter and invited guests all gathered for a special graduation ceremony to witness the presentation of Miller's diploma.
"Excelsior went to Ron because he couldn't come to us." said President Ebersole. "His achievement is too exceptional to not recognize and we wanted to help him draw attention to the need for research to find a cure for ALS."
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