Metro-Atlanta man earns PhD despite quadriplegia - CBS46 News

Metro-Atlanta man earns PhD despite quadriplegia

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On May 21st,  38-year-old Wesley Biddy, a Cobb County native, crossed the stage at Marquette University in Wisconsin. Years of hard work, under unimaginable circumstances, brought him here. Biddy graduated as a doctor, having earned a PhD in religious studies. With a cap and gown, he beat the odds and he's proud of it.

"It felt like crossing a finish line in a race," he explained to reporter Ashley Thompson. "A very, very long race, definitely more a marathon than a sprint."

Biddy still gets emotional when he thinks about the long road that brought him to this point.  When he was just 20-years-old, a horrific car crash left him a partial quadriplegic.

"A doctor came back at one point and told me that I had broken my neck and the chances of me ever walking again were pretty much none."

It was devastating news for the long-time soccer player, who had dreams of continuing in the sport.

"I did hope to play, in whatever capacity was open to me, until I got too old to run so that was a loss."

After initially being in denial, Biddy found the strength, both mentally and physically, to go back to school. This - after months of rehab in Atlanta's Shepherd Center. He finished undergrad at Lee University in Tennessee, then went on to receive a masters from the same school. After that, he earned a second masters from Duke University. And then he spent ten long years in the PhD program at Marquette.

"There were times when I wanted to give up on everything and doing life seemed impossible at times," he said.

What made it possible was the support from his professors, who would give him more time for assignments when needed. He also credits the love and encouragement from his family, especially his mom, who left home to follow him to each school to act as a caregiver.

"My mom just went wherever I went. Whether it was Tennessee or North Carolina or Wisconsin, she went with me everywhere. It was a huge sacrifice."

It was a sacrifice that paid off. The new Dr. Wesley Biddy now has plans to become a professor at a university. He hopes his story will inspire people to never give up on their dreams despite changing circumstances.

"Many things that don't seem possible... really are," he said.

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