Cancer Free with an Early Childhood Education Degree

For many years, Ny’nisha Richardson of Florida knew she wanted to advance her education and pursue an Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education. She had been working with children for several years at Step Up Suncoast Rise and Shine Early Learning, an organization which provides early childhood education and family engagement services to the community with the goal of closing the achievement gap. She started off as a substitute teacher in 2013 and later transitioned to her current role as a preschool teacher at the Palmetto, Florida location. Ny’nisha decided earning her degree would help her better assist the children she serves to learn, develop and prepare for kindergarten.

Graduate and her son.

While finding the right time to further your education is never an easy process, the decision was even trickier for Ny’nisha. In February of 2017 at the age of 22, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma while six months pregnant with her son, Cameron. “I knew there was no way for me to start school and have to worry about keeping up on my work all while caring for a baby as a single parent and stressing about my health. So I told myself that no matter what, I would keep moving forward with my education when I overcame the situation.”

Just a few months after her diagnosis, Ny’nisha gave birth to her son at 37 weeks. “Fortunately, he was a very healthy baby,” she shares. “When I saw my baby for the first time, I knew that everything would be okay. I had something to live and fight for.” Just two weeks after giving birth, Ny’nisha had to continue chemotherapy. “That was the most difficult thing because I didn’t want to be away from my baby, but I knew I had to get better so that I could be with him forever. I knew he needed me as much as I needed him,” she shares. “I had to stop working and I couldn’t be around very many people. It was very hard being as sick as I was while simultaneously being a single parent to a newborn.”

Instead of allowing her circumstances to paralyze her, Ny’nisha fought hard to see a better day. After countless surgeries and plenty of chemotherapy treatments, she overcame her health battle and has been cancer free for two years now. In February of 2018, Ny’nisha was finally able to fulfill her desire of pursuing a higher education. "Even though things happen in life that we have no control over, we cannot let it control us for the rest of our lives. God gave me a second chance, so I took it and ran with it,” she shares. Ny’nisha chose to enroll at Rasmussen College because of the online learning option the Early Childhood Education Associate’s degree program provided. “The fully online courses allowed me the flexibility to continue to work while still attending school,” she says.Graduation cap with 'Cancer Free With A Degree' written on it surrounded by flowers.

On July 27, 2019, Ny’nisha graduated. “My child was and still is my biggest motivation to want to become more and achieve my goals so I can give him a better life,” she shares. “I don’t ever want him to worry about mommy because mommy is a fighter and I will love him forever for fighting with me while I was carrying him.” Throughout life’s ups and downs, Ny’nisha was determined to set an example for her son. “When he grows up, I will tell him my story and let him know that anything is possible and to never give up no matter what life throws at you. He truly was a miracle and changed my life.”

Despite the many hurdles thrown her way, Ny’nisha never once gave up and has a lot to show for it. She’s cancer free with her degree and the proud mom of a very happy, healthy two-year-old son. She’s even decided to continue her education and pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Human Resources and Organizational Leadership. If Ny’nisha’s story inspired you to overcome your obstacles, go after your dreams and further your education, visit our website for a full list of the programs we have to offer.

Kaila Illsley

Kaila is a senior social media specialist at Collegis Education who focuses much of her time in social media content creation and strategy as well as storytelling efforts on behalf of Rasmussen University. She is passionate about writing and sharing inspiring content to help encourage people to pursue their educational and professional goals.

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