May 4, 2018

After horrific crash, graduation Walk means more to Hucks

After horrific crash, graduation Walk means more to Hucks

On a day in late May just three years ago, FMU Nursing student Grayson Hucks endured an unexpected series of events that would forever change the course of her life.

Hucks, a Socastee, S.C. native, always had a passion for helping others, and wanted to translate that into a career in nursing. In  2015, she completed all of the required lower division coursework and was accepted into FMU’s Nursing program.

It was an exciting day, but excitement didn’t last long.

Just a few days after receiving the letter, the car Hucks was driving was struck head on by an oncoming vehicle. In an instant, her future, once so certain, became a blur.

It was a violent crash and Hucks’ injuries were so severe, that one media outlet mistakenly reported from the site that she was dead.

Hucks suffered traumatic brain injury, bleeding on the brain and numerous orthopedic injuries. That left her wheelchair bound for months and put her on a long rehabilitative road. Hucks spent a month at a rehab center, then seven more in out-patient rehab at the Shepherd Center, a spinal cord and brain injury rehabilitation center in Atlanta.

With all that going on, worries about completing her FMU Nursing degree would have been at the bottom of the list for most. But not for Hucks. Throughout the rehab process she says she knew she was going to finish school.

“To me, it was not an option of whether (I could do it),” Hucks says. “It was just when can I do it.”

FMU’s Nursing Department  worked with Hucks to develop a plan that allowed her to work towards her degree at a pace that wouldn’t get in the way of her healing

“They were able to get me back into the swing of things as soon as I was able,” says Hucks. “I was able to come back part-time for two semesters and, instead of having to keep prolonging it, I was able to come back gradually which was better for my injury.”

Hucks said the entire ordeal only strengthened her belief that a Nursing degree from FMU was the path she needed to follow.

“If anything, it just reinforced my career choice as a nurse,” says Hucks. “I look forward to, in my patients’ lives, being able to share my testimony. I know that I’m going to be a better nurse because of it and that was my first experience really being on the ‘patient’ side and I saw those little things that nurses do that can make the difference,” she continued.

Hucks not only finished the degree, she finished at the top of her class, winning the Nursing Department’s annual award. Now a grad, Hucks plans to enter the nursing profession at a local provider. She’s also consider obtaining an advanced degree in the healthcare field.

When Hucks reflects on her journey and how far she’s come to simply be able to walk across the commencement stage, she says she takes nothing, and no one, for granted.

“It wasn’t just me that overcame (the accident,) it was my entire family,” says Hucks. “My mom is a single parent and takes care of my sister and I and we really overcame it as a family. I wish they could walk across the stage with me because it really is a victory for all of us, it’s not just me.”