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Former Homeless Teen Who Battled Leukemia Graduates College At 18

Black hat and yellow tassel of graduates placed on a wooden table
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An 18-year-old boy who was once homeless and diagnosed with leukemia has graduated from college.

According to ABC News, Dallas Salas graduated from Arizona State University with a neuroscience degree at age 18.

“If you’re going through a lot of chaotic experiences, life is only 10% what happens to you and 90% of what you make of it,” Salas said.

The college graduate was diagnosed with leukemia at just five years old.

“It was truly a wrenching and heartbreaking experience. I remember staying up at nights and just crying and just screaming,” Salas said.

That same year, Salas’ family lost their home in Scottsdale, Arizona to arson.

“So I was out in California because we were taking a family trip. And we came home, we actually knew about it, because some neighbors called us and [we] came home, everything was destroyed,” Salas recalled. “And it was pretty intense.”

Amid the various challenges, Salas said his mother, Constance, and Kristen Rund his success coach motivated him to secure his degree. Salas’ mother said she knew her son was gifted at a young age.

“All the time, he outsmarted me each and every time and I’m like, ‘wait a minute, he’s not like the others,’” Constance said. “So I raised him the same way that I raised them, however, with a stronger, more rigorous curriculum for parenting because his brain could take it.”

“I would give him assignments and he would bring them back really fast,” she added.

With Salas now in remission, the 18-year-old plans to pursue neuroscience along with his passion for helping “children that end up on the border in the camps,” according to his mother.

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