I try to focus on the fact that yes, I have gone through all these things throughout my life, but it has also made me who I am today.
Wilny Greenidge signs off every email with “Proud BSU Mom” in honor of her daughter, Angelica, who overcame incredible odds to graduate from Bridgewater State University in May with a degree in psychology.
When Angelica was 18-months old, Wilny suspected something was wrong when her daughter struggled to transfer toys from one hand to the other.
Tests revealed the toddler had a brain tumor.
Because the tumor is shaped like an octopus and its “legs” attach to several nerves, removing it has never been an option. Angelica has endured multiple surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
Over the years, side effects have included brain bleeds and weakness on the right side of her body. Angelica also cannot not drive a car, and has at times been forced to use a wheelchair and cane for mobility.
Despite all of this, the 2020 BSU graduate is not letting her situation define her.
“I try to focus on the fact that yes, I have gone through all these things throughout my life, but it has also made me who I am today,” Angelica said.
Her outlook undoubtedly comes from modeling her life on those of her mother and late grandmother, Josiane. Wilny signed her up for baseball, basketball and supported her academically.
“She kept up with her classes,” Wilny said. “Even during all of the treatments. I can count on one hand how many times she’s missed school.”
Meanwhile, her grandmother signed her up for dance lessons, an activity Angelica still participates in today.
“My mom insisted that this will not slow her down. We made sure she was able to pursue what she wanted to,” Wilny said.
One of those pursuits was a college education.
After graduating high school, Angelica took classes at Massasoit Community College, with the goal of transferring to Bridgewater State.
“Bridgewater was always in my mind,” she said.
After two years of hard work, she was able to transfer and finally arrived on the BSU campus.
Wilny adjusted her work schedule to drive her daughter to campus from their Randolph home. She would then wait in the parking lot for Angelica to finish classes.
“She’s been through so much to get to college, I was not going to stop her from reaching her goals,” Wilny said. “When I would watch her walk into Hart Hall, taking her time so she wouldn’t trip, I’d think how incredible it is, all she’s accomplished.”
Now, with her BSU degree in hand, Angelica looks to pursue a master’s degree and career working as a high school guidance counselor. She is grateful for the BSU community’s support in helping to reach her goals.
“If I ever needed anything there was always somebody to talk to. I definitely was pointed in the right direction toward the things I wanted to do and the things I achieved,” she said.
But Angelica recognizes if it were not for her “Proud BSU Mom,” she wouldn’t have found the necessary strength and determination.
“For her to see me actually accomplish this and to go to the college I wanted to go to…it means so much to me,” Angelica said. “I think everyone has their own challenges in life, but if you try to focus on yourself and don’t let anybody or anything define you, it will always turn around in the end.”
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