‘Never give up’: how a man from Utah turned tragedy into triumph


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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The story of Abel Seward is one of tragedy, perseverance and triumph.

Seward is originally from Ghana in West Africa, but moved to the United States after a tragic incident that seemed to have found a happy ending.

The father of three is currently living his life in a wheelchair due to a series of unfortunate events.

“I haven’t always been in a wheelchair,” Seward says. “Some time before I got to this country just before high school, I was driving what in America they call a scooter and I was hit by a car.

At the time, Seward didn’t think the crash caused serious damage, as he appears to be recovering from his injuries.

But a year after his recovery, things started to change.

“I started having symptoms that included a feeling of weakness in my limbs, but I was able to finish high school,” Seward says.

After graduating from high school, Seward moved to the United States.

“I was still able to walk and everything,” Seward said. “I still felt weakness in my limbs, so I went to a doctor and was diagnosed with muscle weakness.”

Doctors explained to Seward that he had a mutation in his muscle proteins that caused the weakness he was feeling.

Seward says, “It took a while, but eventually I started to go from a walker to a cane and then to a wheelchair.”

A year after moving to America, Seward was enrolled in college. He had high hopes and dreams. At first he was trying to get a business degree and eventually a master’s degree in business administration, as he wanted to someday own his own business.

But after his diagnoses, he shifted gears.

“When I was diagnosed with this disease, I was told at the time that there was no cure, but clinical trials were underway to come up with some kind of medicine to help those with the disease. of this disease, ”Seward explains. “When the doctor told me this, I decided at that point to go into pharmacy so that I could be involved in research to help find a cure or have first-hand knowledge of anything. shows up for my condition. Not only for me, but also to help others.

The dream of pursuing pharmacy was almost shattered. While living in Minnesota, Seward had another accident.

“I had another accident because of my condition in Minnesota,” Seward said. “I was driving to the library once, and at that point I was still able to get around without a wheelchair. I was on the freeway driving about 60mph and then my right leg froze on the accelerator. I couldn’t lift it. He just froze.

There was a red light in front of him as he stepped out.

Seward says, “It was one of the most terrifying times of my life. I had to turn on the light and hit several cars in the process. I still couldn’t take my foot off the accelerator. “

This accident caused more damage to his already existing condition. Walking or moving around has become a bit more difficult for him.

Seward stopped going to college for a while after the accident.

“For about 10 years, I waited for answers,” Seward says. “I was waiting for some kind of hope, some kind of positive or something, but that didn’t happen.”

Seward then moved from Minnesota to California and says he firmly believed it was time to try to go back to school.

“I was afraid to go back to school. I didn’t know how I was going to do it with my condition, ”Seward says. “I knew going back to pharmacy wasn’t going to be easy. I thought about all the classes and labs I would need to take as part of the course.

His concerns grew stronger.

“How will I be able to move from one class to another?” Seward said. “At the time, I was using a manual wheelchair, so everything seemed impossible to me. I was sort of in a dark place for a while thinking it was over for me, there is no hope until I muster the courage to go back to school.

Seward was eventually able to take courses one by one, starting with a community college and eventually leading to a school of pharmacy.

He was enrolled in a private university in South Jordan, Utah. He moved to Beehive State with his 5 year old son at the time, not knowing a single person in the area.

“Traveling with a 5 year old was not easy. I just took the opportunity and moved on, ”Seward says.

Seward discovered that he could combine his pharmacy degree with an MBA, taking on the challenge of pursuing both due to his continued passion for business.

“A pharmacy degree takes about four years on average after a bachelor’s degree, and an MBA takes about two years. So together I was looking for a six-year education, but I was able to do it in three years, ”Seward says.

Seward earned a 4.0 GPA with both degrees.

All of these accomplishments did not come without their own challenges.

Seward added, “Since I was a single parent with an added set of challenges including taking the bus to school etc., I had to make sure to wake up early, prepare my son and take her to school before. go to school myself, then quit school and pick him up after. “

It was tough, but Seward said, “I kept fighting.”

There were times he himself taught the pharmacy class at home due to the discrimination and bullying he didn’t want to deal with in school.

Seward says a lot of people tried to get him to quit. He added: “When you talk about systemic discrimination against minorities, I have come across all of this. When I got to school, after the first semester, I felt that these people didn’t want me here, but I had waited so many years to get here and I just couldn’t stop.

One of the requirements of Seward’s pharmacy course was to obtain CPR certification during its first semester.

“They let me down because they said that being in a wheelchair, I was not able to apply enough pressure or enough pressure that will be needed on the manikin to effectively perform compressions for. CPR, ”Seward explains.

Seward says it was sometimes difficult to study. He is the first person in his family to graduate.

“I wanted to share my story because sometimes in life people are hit by unexpected circumstances, and that can be the end,” Seward says. “They lose their dream and lose everything because they don’t see the possibility of getting out of this situation.”

Seward said above all, he believed in himself.

“Quitting smoking was not an option for me,” Seward says.

He is the oldest in his family and as such he felt he needed to set a standard for his younger siblings to follow.

“I knew God had given me intellectual talent, so instead of letting the situation bury my talent, I decided to go on and fight to be an example to my family and children,” Seward says. “I wanted a better life for my children.”

Even though raising a 5-year-old on his own due to his medical condition was a challenge, Seward says bringing his son with him was a huge motivation for him.

“Every time I looked at it, it kept me going,” Seward says. “I knew I wasn’t just doing it for myself. I knew I was doing it for him.

Seward adds that he is a man of faith, and prayer was another thing that kept him going.

When asked what his advice would be to anyone in a situation similar to his, Seward said, “There is a lot of uncertainty in life. No one knows tomorrow and what can happen. When things happen, you can easily give in and give up on your dreams, but whatever challenges come your way, know that your will, your God-given talent, and your God-given ability are stronger than any circumstances that might. do it. hit us. Never give up! No matter what comes your way, never give up.

Seward is now studying to take the board exams for his pharmacy license after graduation.

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