Blind student overcomes tumor, homelessness, graduates from FIU

WEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - A young woman who lost her sight and overcame a tumor and homelessness has graduated from Florida International University.

According to FIU, when she was 17 years old, Myesha Lyles started suffering from a string of bad headaches. However, at the time, she simply attributed them to being tired.

It wasn’t until she fell down some stairs that she discovered she had acoustic neuroma, a rare noncancerous tumor, in her brain.

After a long surgery, Lyles awoke to find the tumor gone. Unfortunately, her vision was also gone.

Despite this, Lyles spent hours in physical and speech therapy, and with help from the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind, she learned to cook, clean, use computers and become more independent.

“My initial goal was to go to work, but when I lost my vision, I [wanted] more for myself,” she said. “Let me take that chance to go to college.”

Lyles started at Miami-Dade College and later transferred to FIU.

During her academic career, she was homeless and also endured a long two-hour bus ride to get to class.

With help from FIU, she was connected with resources that support former foster youth and homeless students at the university.

Now, Lyles has graduated from FIU with a degree in psychology.

“It’s like a dream come true. All of my hard work really did pay off,” she said. “I really am happy that this day has come.”

Lyles said she plans on following her dreams and pursuing her passion for dance and audition to be a Miami Heat dancer.

She also said she has hopes of starting her own nonprofit to help young girls express themselves through dance.

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