Medical student overcomes odds, plans to give back - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Medical student overcomes odds, plans to give back

Victor Chukwueke considers his tumor a blessing in disguise, because he wouldn't be where he is today without it. Victor Chukwueke considers his tumor a blessing in disguise, because he wouldn't be where he is today without it.
Chukwueke underwent nine surgeries, done pro-bono by a Michigan doctor, and from there, he realized he wanted to do the same for others. Chukwueke underwent nine surgeries, done pro-bono by a Michigan doctor, and from there, he realized he wanted to do the same for others.
TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) -

A University of Toledo medical student has overcome more than just a serious medical condition. Thanks to the kindness of strangers, Victor Chukwueke is headed down a path to help others.

Chukwueke says he was treated as an outcast in his home country of Nigeria because of a condition causing large tumors to grow on his face. 

"I was ostracized," he said. "I was afraid to go out in public."

Chukwueke's parents sought medical help, but there was nothing the doctors in Nigeria could do for him. So his parents asked missionary nuns for help, and at 15 years old, they brought him to Michigan.

He underwent nine surgeries, done pro-bono by a Michigan doctor, and from there, Chukwueke realized he wanted to do the same for others. He's now months away from becoming a doctor.

But something major had to happen for him to go to medical school. 

"I couldn't start medical school, because I'm not a U.S. citizen," said Chukwueke.

So Chukwueke worked with Michigan Senator Carl Levin on a private bill, granting him permanent residency. Private bills are rare to pass Congress. In fact, it hadn't happened in two years, but on the last day of the legislative session, Congress passed the bill. President Obama signed it into law in 2012. 

"Tears of joy," said Chukwueke. "And now I say, 'Now, I can go to medical school."

Now, Chukwueke awaits residency match day on March 17 to see if and where he will get his training. From there, Chukwueke plans to use the skills he learned to help others in Nigeria.

"I experienced firsthand how a lack of medical care can affect life," he said.

Chukwueke considers his tumor a blessing in disguise, because he wouldn't be where he is today without it.

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