Tag Archives: autoimmune disease

Rhode Island Teen Graduates High School Despite Health

Woonsocket graduate has unique story

I would like to share with you the inspirational story of Daniel McNulty, a student from Woonsocket, Rhode Island, who earned his high school diploma against all odds.

Daniel has not been your traditional student; he has spent more time outside of the classroom than inside due to serious health issues. Rare autoimmune diseases he has had since birth have caused his immune system to be weaker, resulting in multiple hospital stays and long periods of convalescence at home. This has made it impossible for him to attend school like most students, but that has not deterred him from completing his coursework at Woonsocket High School.

Daniel completed his courses online, becoming the only graduate from Rhode Island to earn most of his high school credits on the Internet. “I’d go on when I felt good, and if I didn’t I would be out for a while and try to catch up afterwards,” Daniel said.

His parents admitted that there were times when he was worried that he might not survive, but they said he was driven to finish, even during the toughest times. The worst time was when Daniel’s immune system began to attack itself and his gastrointestinal tract shut down. “We had to have a plan C for our plan B!” his mother, Margaret said.

Sue Leja, the administrator for his online classes said, “Because of his integrity for everything, his drive, I had no doubt he would make it,”

Not only did Daniel make it, he is a member of the National Honor Society and finished sixth in his class! Amazing!

Now that Daniel has accomplished this goal, what are his future plans? He will attend Community College of Rhode Island in the fall and eventually attend a 4-year university. But that is not enough for this determined, young man. “I’d like to help other kids who are in the same [or] similar situation and have many health issues,” he said.

What can I say, other than, you are a hero, Daniel! May you continue to be an inspiration for years to come!