Walking across the stage to receive her bachelor’s degree in business was always Crystal Dosher’s goal when she enrolled at Bellevue University in 2015.
At that same time in 2015, the single mother was watching her son, Kyle, start his college career at Creighton University.
The next year, a stroke changed her life. She was home alone on April 2, 2016, and started having a massive headache. When she looked in the mirror, she saw the right side of her face drooping and soon lost control of her right side.
She called her son and soon found she was mumbling. She remembers being taken to the hospital where she found she had suffered a stroke.
Dosher had a blood clot on the right side of her cerebellum.
“I remember Kyle standing in the back of ER crying and I saw this look of fear in his eyes and I was like, ‘God, please don’t let me die, give me the strength to carry on,’” she said. “When I saw that look of fear in my son’s eyes, I knew I had to be strong for him.”
Dosher said that moment changed her life, because she had just started school and was watching her son begin his career as well.
“I didn’t understand because I was so young that it was a stroke happening to me,” she said. “But by day three, I had got up by myself, and that’s when they determined I was too well to go to rehab, and I could go home with a nurse.”
Dosher had to relearn her speech, deal with moving into her new apartment, keep her son in school, and also keep track of her work and school. But she was determined to not let her stroke defy her.
“I was able to recover at home,” she said. “I kept getting better.”
A big believer of her faith, Dosher said prayer and hope helped guide her to overcome the obstacle.
Continuing with school was challenging, Dosher said. She took six months off but said the school was very supportive with her efforts.
“My math professor, Michaela Schaben, she knew me before my stroke and could just see the perseverance and was like, ‘I know you can do this,’” Dosher said.
“Even when I returned I had some cognitive issues where I don’t retain as well as before the stroke, and it frustrated me, but I think it made me more determined to pursue and go on.”
And that determination, alongside some days of frustration and doubt, paid off. Dosher walked across the stage June 1 to receive her bachelor’s degree.
Dosher said while walking across to receive her degree, she had tears in her eyes hearing her son shout, “That’s my mom.”
“I wasn’t going to let a stroke keep me from finishing my degree,” she said. “All that hard work paid off, it was such a joy and relief. I did do it, and you can do anything you put your mind to.”