Carla Dunning graduated from UofL the day before Mother's Day, despite the death of her husband and her own breast cancer and lymphoma diagnoses.
Marcara Jordan said she's proud of her mother's determination and perseverance.
Dunning held her diploma after the ceremony.
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Plenty of proud parents packed the KFC Yum! Center Saturday afternoon for the University of Louisville's graduation ceremonies, but for a pair of daughters, it was their mother walking the line that packed an emotional wallop.
"She's been talking about it for months now," said 16-year-old Marcara Jordan about her mother's graduation day. "I'm glad it's finally here."
Jordan sat in the front row, holding back tears.
"If I was her, I would've given up a long time ago," Jordan said, "so I'm proud of her."
She's proud of her mother Carla Dunning's strength and determination. In 2011, Dunning's husband died of heart problems.
"It hit her the hardest," Jordan said of her mom, "because she had to realize that she still had to raise kids by herself."
One year later, Dunning was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Dunning went back to school after 25 years to pursue a career in education. Finally graduating from college was Dunning's way of proving to her children and grandchild that perseverance pays off.
"It's been hard, but I wanted to be an inspiration to my daughter," Dunning said.
Dunning passed her graduation cap to Marcara, the youngest of her four children.
"Now she's got my shoes to fulfill," Dunning said.
Her breast cancer is in remission, but she recently was diagnosed with lymphoma. Nevertheless, Dunning plans to continue her education by earning a master's degree. She says she's excited about the future. She even recently got engaged.