Most parents are constantly doing things to protect and support their children, but Judy O’Connor took this to a whole new level. Her son fell off the stairs and ended up in a wheelchair, which didn’t stop him—or them—from continuing his college education. Without a second thought she did everything she could to help him continue his education, and earned an honorary MBA for herself in the process.
STAIRWAY TO HELL
Marty O’Connor was an ordinary boy who had recently finished his undergraduate studies at the University of Colorado. Two years later, he fell off the stairs and ended up in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
Being paralyzed from his neck down didn’t really stop Marty from wanting to continue his career training. In fact, he decided to start an MBA at the Chapman University in California.
SWIM WITH MIKE
USC All-American swimmer Mike Nyeholt was paralyzed himself after a motorcycle accident, so an organization to help out paralyzed kids through school was created in his honor. Marty was able to attend college thanks to a $10,000 annual scholarship he got from the “Swim With Mike” organization.
A BIG WHEEL
Judy O’Connor played an important role in her son’s career: she actually attended class with him, wheeled him around classes, helped him take notes, and studied next to him. She became more of a support than the wheelchair itself.
Judy enjoyed this experience herself. She was a business-school graduate from Notre Dame, so going back to college wasn’t much of a problem for her. In fact, she claims to have loved every minute of class next to her son.
In order to help out her son like that, Judy had to leave a few things behind. When Marty had the accident, she was working as a teacher in Florida; but she decided to move to California to be next to her son.
CAP AND GOWN
After years of hard work, Marty was able to graduate from grad school, obtaining the MBA he longed so much for. His mom pushed the wheelchair across the stage to get his degree with him; she was definitely with him every step of the way.
CAP AND GOWN. PART II.
All of Judy’s hard work also paid off in the form of an honorary MBA for herself. As she accompanied her son to get his degree, she was surprised with the honorary award everyone in the crowd cheer so much for.
MARTY’S GOT A PLAN
Judy attended every class with Marty. She studied with him. She took notes for him. She basically won this MBA as if she were a student herself. However, this was all Marty’s idea to gratefully thank his mom for all her support.
HAVE YOUR BACK
As parents, you want to be there for your kid as much as you can. Judy made it possible thanks to her generous heart, patience and hard work. She was there for her son every step of the way and they both got the happy ended they deserved.