NEWS: Overcoming Lyme, graduating with honors
From the Kalamazoo Gazette: Twelve years ago, he was severely debilitated by Lyme and needed a wheelchair. Now, he’s recovered his health, graduated with honors from college, and will walk across the stage to pick up his diploma.
Western Michigan University senior overcomes debilitating illness to graduate with honors
Published: Thursday, December 15, 2011, 9:15 AM Updated: Thursday, December 15, 2011, 11:00 AM
KALAMAZOO — John-Michael Duggan remembers calling home sick from his eighth-grade art class. His mom picked him up, and he didn’t walk back into school for years.
Walking was something the then-12-year-old had to relearn during his four-year hiatus from school.
Duggan was diagnosed with Lyme disease, a relatively rare bacterial illness spread by deer ticks, two years after he became ill. He was misdiagnosed twice, which is common for the disease that can cause chronic arthritis and nervous-system abnormalities if untreated.
Once they found the problem, it took another two years to heal. He was home-schooled, lost control of his vision and had to use a wheelchair. Eventually, he healed.
Duggan, 24, will put his walking skills to work when he gets on stage Saturday to receive a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Western Michigan University. He is graduating summa cum laude, which is no surprise to family members who watched him graduate first in his class from Loy Norrix High School in 2006.