Radford University student overcomes tough odds to walk across graduation stage

Published: May. 6, 2017 at 6:29 PM EDT
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Hundreds of students took that walk across the graduation stage Saturday, but there's one graduate who had to overcome tough odds to cross that stage.

Hearing "Pomp and Circumstance" is a dream come true for Malina Richardson. Just a few days ago, she was in the hospital.

She was released on April 28th.

"Since middle school I've been dreaming about graduating, from college and undergrad and all that, so just to be here is a miracle and an honor to me," Malina said.

Malina and her sister, Maya, were travelling along Interstate 64 when their car was hit by a tractor-trailer. Maya quickly jumped into action helping to get her sister out of the car, but in the end Malina suffered several burns, fractures and internal injuries.

"When the doctors first told me in the first 48 hours, to prepare myself, graduation was not in my thoughts," Dona Richardson, Malina's mother, said.

But they were in Malina's.

As a member of the track team, she was in optimal health.

"To see her here today, is such an inspiration and such a testimony to her strength and courage ... she was determined to be here," Radford Track coach Shelli Sayers said.

And as a health education major, she was able to communicate with her medical team.

"It makes me very proud of her," Kathleen Poole, a professor at Radford, said.

Malina realizes her healing started in the mind.

"Stay positive, stay positive if the mind is right then everything else will fall into place, that is definitely one thing I take away from my coaches and training," Malina said.

As she makes it across this stage, she is already planning for a future in health care.

"I want to get my RN but I also have a lot of other goals too, I'll see what happens," Malina said.

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