Marty O’Connor was paralyzed from the shoulders down five years ago after a fall down the stairs. That didn’t, however, stop him from receiving an MBA degree from Chapman University along with his mother, Judy, who received an honorary degree herself at the same time as her son.
Marty used an iPad, laptop, voice recognition software and a mouth stick to participate in the classroom, but he couldn’t take notes or answer tests by himself. That’s when he leaned on his mom to help out. Judy had attended every one of her son’s classes for the past two years.
“You get a spinal cord injury — I couldn’t fix it, but I could do this for him,” she told The Orange County Register.
It was Marty’s idea to honor her hard work and dedication, and the university kept it a secret until the big day. It was announced over a loudspeaker while they stopped for a graduation photo on stage.
“It was a wonderful privilege to be able to do this for him,” she said after the ceremony.
Marty is grateful to have his mother by his side. “There’s no way I would have achieved my level of success without her,” he said.
Watch the video to see the mother and son graduate together.