Woman graduates from EVMS despite mysterious medical condition

Posted at 3:51 PM, Jun 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-11 18:06:48-04

NORFOLK, Va. - Beaming with pride, Helena Pett accepted her degree to become a physicians assistant from the Eastern Virginia Medical School.

On the day of graduation, she accomplished two major goals: The first was getting the degree, and the second was walking across stage.

“It definitely took a lot of adrenaline to walk across the stage. It was so emotional when I finally got down the steps, that sense of accomplishment. I did it,” said Pett.

Back December, she says she woke up and didn’t feel right, and as the day progressed, things got worse. She said that she had trouble not being able to walk and was having muscle spasms and weakness.

Pett went to the hospital and has undergone many different tests for the last few months, but her diagnosis is still a mystery.

“I definitely have a new perspective for what it’s like to be on the other side of the white coat and what it’s like to get a bunch of testing and still no answers and then being in a wheelchair; what it’s like to be a person with a disability and the challenges that they face on a regular basis,” said Pett.

Related: Portsmouth teen graduates after being in a coma for five months

She should be completely finished with all her schooling this July and is currently looking for jobs.

“The jobs I am specifically applying for are jobs that I can continue to advocate for those who are underserved and the disabled community because it’s definitely a passion of mine,” said Pett.