University PhD graduate candidate Michelle Morgan has gone through university and graduates all while fighting for her life.

Now a PhD graduate, Dr Morgan spoke of her achievement from her hospital bed just hours before graduation saying she had experienced a range of emotions leading up to the day.

Dr Morgan graduated from The University Queensland with a doctorate in special education, specifically in adult literacy, while battling with debilitating cardiac and respiratory conditions for 28 years.

Dr Morgan’s research has contributed powerfully to the field of special education, specifically in the areas of adult literacy and participatory research with individuals with an intellectual disability.

The atmosphere in Dr Morgan’s ward the day of her graduation was a buzz of excitement, as hospital staff had become her second family and been with her through the very worst.

She says she was thrilled to be able to share the moment with those who mean so much to her.

“I went from feeling elated and relieved for having attained my PhD, to being overwhelmed at a most incredible journey in which my courage, optimism and strength enabled me to overcome absolute adversity.

“But most of all, the humility I felt from the incredible and endless support and encouragement from so many who have journeyed with me was second to none,” Dr Morgan says.

In 2010 Dr Morgan received a Pride of Australia Medal of Courage for Queensland for those very attributes.

Dr Morgan believes in life we have two choices.

“We can choose to sit and wallow in self-pity when we are dealt a less than optimal hand, or we can make the most of what we have by finding creative ways of overcoming adversity, knowing deep in our souls that anything is possible, and never, ever giving up on our dreams.

“Like the poet Robert Frost, I chose the latter, the path less travelled, and that really has made all the difference.”