Man graduates from college despite being critically ill; ‘marches’ stage in wheel chair

A young man is now making a lot of netizens cry after photos of him proudly graduating from college despite being critically ill circulated online.

Joemar Mangkok, 25, is seen in a series of posts uploaded by his older sister Lynn Mangkok-Ayab over the weekend.

The photos show Mangkok happily attending his graduation at the Southern Mindanao Institute of Technology (SMIT) in Sultan Kudarat, where he finished with a degree in secondary education, major in math.

Mangkok, who is afflicted with a rheumatic heart, breathed through an oxygen tank and attended the graduation while sitting on his wheelchair.

One of Ayab’s posts has been shared almost 300 times.

In a phone interview with Coconuts Manila, Ayob told us that her brother has always been sickly as a child but Mangkok’s rheumatic heart was discovered only about five years ago. Despite this, he has always excelled academically.

“He has always been a bright boy. He would attend various regional contests when he was a child,” Ayab said.

However, things became difficult ever since he became very ill. Mangkok transferred from one college to another because he would often have to stop due to his illness.

Ayab said that when he was studying at SMIT, her brother was already staying at the hospital, where he would finish his school work.

“He studied when he was at the hospital and that’s even where he finished some of his projects,” Ayob said, her voice breaking. “But he didn’t want to stop because our father told us our education was very important and it was the only thing he could give us.”

Her brother’s condition was so severe that he immediately went back to the hospital after graduation. Doctors have told Ayob and the rest of her family that her brother needed to be transferred to the intensive care unit. However, Ayob said they couldn’t follow the doctors’ orders because they didn’t have enough money to do so.

Mangkok’s story left a lot of netizens touched, including Shirley Kasim who wrote: “Congrats…Inshallah (God willing) you get well. I don’t know you personally but I was so touched. I couldn’t help but cry. I feel proud that despite your illness, you remain strong. Congratulations to your parents. Just fight.”

Photo: Lynn Mangkok Ayob

Commenting on the graduation photos, Daisy Pagalad wrote: “You can do this, sir!  You will get well. Be strong and just pray. Allah [will] bless you.”

Photo: Lynn Mangkok Ayob

Another netizen wrote: “Congrats. I couldn’t help but cry because of what he’s been through but Alhamdulillah (praise be to God) he reached his dreams. Inshallah, he will get well.”

Photo: Lynn Mangkok Ayob

Do you know of other inspiring stories like this? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @CoconutsManila.

This article, Man graduates from college despite being critically ill; ‘marches’ stage in wheel chair, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!