She Was Told Her Son Would Be a Vegetable, Now He’s Graduating From College

National   |   Sarah Zagorski   |   Oct 24, 2014   |   3:38PM   |   Washington, DC

In 1975, Frankie MacQueen was born with cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that causes impairment of motor function due to brain injury or abnormal development of the brain. Most cases of cerebral palsy are diagnosed before the age of one; and only two percent of all cases are believed to be due to a genetic cause.

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When Frankie was a baby, his mother, Neila MacQueen was told her son wouldn’t live past the age of ten and that he wouldn’t amount to anything. She was told he would just be a vegetable. However, at the age of 39, Frankie is graduating from Cape Breton University with a Bachelors of Arts and frankiemcqueenCommunity Studies degree. During his high school and college career, he’s only been able to use one finger to type; but that hasn’t stopped him from reaching his goals. And even though it’s taken his eight years to get his degree, his mother couldn’t be happier.

Neilatold the Cape Breton Post, “I never thought I would see this day. I didn’t even think Frankie would go to school or be in a regular class, and university was totally out of the question. He went ahead and accomplished all of this really and I followed him. It was his decision; his choice, whatever, and I just followed him. It’s a pleasure for Frankie to be my son.”

His tutor, Shirley Gardiner, also commented on his success and said his biggest asset is his ability to remember things. She said, “That’s probably one of the reasons why Frankie has been able to succeed as well, and of course, the technology that’s available today, to be able to use a laptop and computer on his own.”

When Frankie graduated high school he received a standing ovation, but he doesn’t want any kind of special treatment when he receives his bachelor’s degree. He said, “I don’t like being the center of attention because I get nervous.”

Now, Frankie wants to continue moving forward and receive a diploma in Information Technology from the NSCC Marconi Campus. His goal is to open his own business so that he can help people with disabilities. He said, “I want to teach others with disabilities about technology.” Frankie wants people with disabilities to know that they too can have a life.