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Pushing off her brain surgery by two days, Aimeé Green plans to become the first person in her family to graduate from college.
Three months ago, Green found out she had a brain tumor and needed surgery immediately. So, walking across the stage to get her diploma from Sacramento State University was something she was told would not be possible.
Green remembers having to endure difficult moments ever since she was three-years-old. She told ABC10 she grew up in an abusive home, and felt scared every day as a kid.
“It was very traumatic. There were a lot of strangers, and people coming in and out of our home at the time," said Green. "I never felt protected, and I just always felt like I needed to fend for myself, and fend for my brothers and sisters."
Green was raised by her grandparents after her parents divorced.
“Knowing that there's not really many people that have someone like my grandparents in their lives, I just want to be that for other people, and kind of be their guardian angel, and help them get to where they need to be,” Green adds.
The 24-year-old credits her rough upbringing as the reason for pursuing a career as a social worker. She says she’s passionate about helping kids who come from broken homes.
“I just want to be able to tell them that no matter what given any obstacle, you can overcome it through hard work and determination.”
For a while, Green had to put school on hold to take care of her sick grandmother.
In February, she was three months away from commencement – a moment Green had worked hard for her whole life.
“For the first time, everything in my life was going pretty great. I've always had a rough, difficult life,” Green explained.
She felt proud of herself because she was going to be the first person in her family to graduate from college.
“The whole world flipped on me.” Green and her boyfriend got into a car crash on their way back home from running errands.
“It was honestly heartbreaking because I've seen how things have gone in these four years,” said Gianni Westlake, Green’s boyfriend of four years. “I knew how her life was before, and everything had started to look up, and then that happened.”
When doctors examined her, they found a brain tumor. She was told she needed to have surgery immediately.
“I looked at him, and I said no, no, no. I'm supposed to be graduating college in the next couple of months,” she told her doctor.
Green persisted and eventually got permission to postpone her surgery until after commencement.
“It's been pretty crazy, pretty stressful, but I'm really excited to graduate and walk that stage,” Green said.
The Social Work major says she made the decision to finish school this year in memory of her grandpa.
“He’s the only real motivating person that I had in my life. He was my role model and he recently passed away with pancreatic cancer,” Green explained. “He was my rock, and I just know that he would want me to do this, and be strong and not have this stop me from graduating.”
As she counts down to get her diploma on May 19, she’s also preparing to walk into the operating room two days later.
“I have a day to recover after I graduate and then I go right into surgery at 4:00 am in the morning.”
Even though it’s been a rough last semester, Green thanks her boyfriend for being her biggest support system.
“I've never really had anybody like this in my life before who showed this much affection and support,” Green said. “He’s constantly been here for me, and I just couldn't be more grateful that he's in my life and that I met him.”
Despite having insurance, Green told ABC10 most of her medical expenses won’t be covered, so one of her friends set up a GoFundMe account to help her. If you’d like to donate, click here.
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