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BYU roommates don't let disabilities stop them from reaching goals

By Sam Penrod | Posted - Apr. 22, 2009 at 10:11 p.m.



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PROVO -- BYU will hold commencement ceremonies Thursday afternoon in Provo. Among the graduates are two roommates: both of them face life with quadriplegia and both have overcome their disability to earn diplomas.

Jamie Moore and Jill McAuley have been roommates at BYU for the past four years. They are both quadriplegics and have found strength in each other's challenges.

"We are both going through similar situations, and so it's been really nice to talk to each other about our struggles and encourage each other in the hard times, and have fun together too," Jamie said.

They have two roommates who cook for them and help them get ready for school. In class, other students take turns helping out. "In my classes, people take notes for me and help me study," Jill said.

She also has a computer that types up her homework. Jamie gets help from Misty, a service dog trained to lend a hand.

Jill was in an accident nine years ago; Jamie was injured when she was five years old. With the help of a modified van, Jamie can now drive herself to campus.

"We have schedules we have to stick to, and so we don't pull the all-nighters usually, or some things other students do. But we are just as dedicated," Jamie said.

That dedication has helped them earn diplomas in Social Science. Now they're prepared for new chapters in their lives.

"I just really look forward to the future and the things that I can do and hopefully inspire others to do, that it is possible," Jill said.

"Jill and I are both proof that you can continue on with your goals and accomplish things and go on with your life," Jamie added.

Jill is moving home to Washington state and already has a job lined up in human resources. Jamie hopes to find work as a social worker in the medical field, specializing in rehabilitation.

E-mail: spenrod@ksl.com

Sam Penrod

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