CCCC Dental Hygiene student overcomes hurdles to achieve education
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Cheryl Michelle King has faced her share of challenges in recent years. Nevertheless, she has persevered ... (more)
SANFORD -- Cheryl Michelle King has faced her share of challenges in recent years. Nevertheless, she has persevered and will receive her Dental Hygiene degree from Central Carolina Community College this month.
King, 43, of Spring Lake, says the journey has been challenging, but rewarding.
"In February 2008, I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure with low pump function as a result of repeat strep throat infections. I had my defibrillator implanted in March 2008. I applied for the Dental Hygiene program in January 2012 and I was accepted. But, unfortunately, my heart condition progressed resulting in me being hospitalized and being placed on the heart transplant list," said King, a 1989 graduate of Pine Forest High School.
"Since I was awaiting a heart transplant, it left me no other choice but to decline my acceptance into the program. I was transferred to Duke Hospital at the end June 2012 and I received my transplant on July 19, 2012," she said.
King noted that her recovery has been a long journey. "Even though I am doing well since receiving my heart, I have had several hurdles to overcome," said King. "While in the program, I have dealt with sickness and multiple hospitalizations. As if that were not enough, my mother has had her battle with illness and repeated hospitalizations as well."
Through it all, she said that God inspires her daily to press her way, even through her trials and tribulations. "The things that He has brought me through has shown me that He is always with me and there for me," said King, who has four children and five grandchildren. "I draw my inspiration from my mother, Dorothy King, and my spiritual mother, Bishop Maria Robinson." She said that both women have encouraged her to never give up and that there is nothing that she cannot do.
Whitney Simonian, of the CCCC Dental Programs faculty, has had a first-hand view of King's accomplishments. "Cheryl has overcome many obstacles in the past year -- too many for one human being," said Simonian. "It has been inspiring to see someone get through a rigorous program against all odds. I know the journey has been tough for her, but I know it will be worth it in the end."
King chose to attend the CCCC Dental Hygiene program when she found out that the college was considered one of the best programs in the area. "I also learned that the students in the program are highly recommended to dentists for employment," she said.
"Initially, I was inspired to complete the Dental Hygiene program because I have a dental assistant background and the information was familiar to me. But once I started the program and we began our community course and clinical, I was inspired by the difference I was able to make in people's lives. I remember a patient I encountered that gave me the biggest hug after I cleaned her teeth. She looked at her smile in the mirror and seeing her happy brightened my day."
Vicky Wesner, CCCC Dental Programs Director, said King has managed to maintain her position in the program despite the challenges she has faced. "I am so proud to see Cheryl complete the difficult two year requirements of the Dental Hygiene program and attain her goal of becoming a dental hygienist."
King noted that the CCCC Dental Hygiene program takes dedication, determination, and courage. "Though the program may be difficult, the faculty are not only educators, but nurturers who are caring and supportive," she said.
What does the future hold for King? "My future plans are to practice as a registered dental hygienist. My future plans also include pursuing a Bachelor's in Dental Hygiene from East Carolina University," she said. "I have also considered teaching as a possibility for me in the future."
For more information on the CCCC Dental Programs, contact Lora Jackson, Dental Programs Admissions Counselor, at 919-718-7234 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on CCCC, visit www.cccc.edu.
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