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UArizona graduate overcomes parents' cancer diagnoses to receive degree

Posted at 5:44 PM, May 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-15 09:57:16-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - School has always brought peace to Jenny Nguyen, and being part of the College of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture at the University of Arizona was a dream come true.

“Growing up I loved art, I loved drawing, I loved just doing creative things," said Nguyen.

However, pursuing her dream wasn't easy.

“I think it started probably the beginning of my freshman year of college," said Nguyen, "my dad went to the doctors and they discovered a mass in his stomach.”

Nguyen said her dad was diagnosed with liver cancer.

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“The end of my freshman year he actually collapsed on our kitchen floor and we didn’t know what it was and we just kind of assumed you know," she said.

The following year, during her sophomore year of college, Nguyen's dad died.

Despite the heartache, Nguyen said she kept going, pursuing her dream of getting her college degree.

“I didn’t let what I was going through in my personal life affect my school work," she said.

During her junior year of college, Nguyen and her family got some more unexpected news.

“Then a year after passing, my mom was diagnosed with cancer too," she said.

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Her mom's diagnosis led Nguyen and her sisters to not only continue being full-time students, but also full-time caretakers.

"We would have to take her to the doctors and translate and understand exactly what she was diagnosed with," said Nguyen.

While Nguyen's dad is no longer here, Nguyen said she knows her dad would be proud of all of her accomplishments.

“My dad actually framed my sisters diplomas, they’re hanging in my kitchen," she said.