Brooklyn, New York (My9NJ) -
18-year-old Johileny Meran is the kind of person who could have every excuse not to achieve. Her mom died of cancer four years ago, leaving her homeless, and she's in a wheelchair and has cerebral palsy.
Yet, she not only manages to achieve, she thrives.
When Meran was 8-years-old, she had to use a walker, then during a surgery, something went wrong and forced her to use a wheelchair.
She actually prefers to walk with crutches, no matter how difficult it may be for her.
Currently, she lives in a shelter, but her high school in Brooklyn is the only place she feels at home.
"I live with grandmother and younger brother. My mom passed away four years ago of cancer… I can't go out at night, I lose freedoms, and no visitors after curfew," she says.
Mariela Regalado, Director of College Counseling at the CollegeBound Initiative, discusses Meran's perseverance.
"She's only 18-years-old and the things that she's had to survive, and go through, doesn't stop her. If anything, all the obstacles motivated her," Regalado says. "A lot of odds played against her, and she lets it work for her. It's interesting to see a person with a lot of reasons to quit and doesn't."
Meran has already been told that she's ranked number one in her class.
“I'm an overachiever. I don't like to just settle for anything," Meran says. "The highlight of my high school career, graduation is in June, but… I'm on track to be valedictorian and very happy about that, it's well deserved."
After high school, she plans to go to college to become a pediatric oncologist to help treat infants, children, and adolescents who have been diagnosed with cancer.
She's applied to more than 28 colleges and, so far, she has received acceptance letters from Stony Brook and Hunter College.
But her main concern is how she's going to afford college and how her future will pan out.
"I wish to have a better future. I wish to have a better future and know won't be in danger of having to live in a shelter with my family again, not uncomfortable safety. But don't know when that'll change," she says.
She was actually recognized by the Garden of Dreams Foundation and was awarded with a $10,000 scholarship for college.
As hard of a worker Meran is, she says she needs more help to make her dreams come true. You can donate to her by clicking this link: http://www.razoo.com/story/Ywln