DHS student overcomes obstacles in time for graduation

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DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — This school year has been a unique challenge for most seniors around the world, but for one Dothan High School senior, getting to walk across that stage has a deeper meaning.

“I’m Danielle Simmons I’m a senior at Dothan high school and I will be graduating tomorrow. Uh, 3 months ago my life took a little change,” started Danielle Simmons.

Her medical mystery began last year when she thought she had a simple sinus infection. She was admitted into Flowers Hospital and then flown to Children’s Hospital in Birmingham where she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, GPA (Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis.

“I was on a ventilator for a total of 2 weeks and lost about 3 weeks of my memory in the ICU, and I lost about 25% of my muscle mass,” Simmons said.

A month after being in the hospital Simmons was moved to a rehab facility where she had to relearn how to do simple day to day tasks like walking.

In March, Simmons returned home and caught up with school work she had missed over the span of 8 weeks.

“I’ve always been an honor roll student so I pushed myself to keep those straight A’s and I did,” Simmons said.

Simmons has proven she can meet goals she sets for herself and will be attending Auburn in the fall.

“My last goal was just to be independent again, and just kinda live like the teenager I was before, you know drive my own car, walk around the house alone, without assistance and I’m at that point now so I’m really proud of myself,” Simmons shared. “It’s a bit of a milestone I’ve always really looked forward to graduation but even more so now with all the work I put into it.”

Danielle says perseverance and passion will get you anywhere in life and getting to walk across the stage is only one part of her story.

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