Fortis College in Columbia hosted its nurses pinning ceremony Friday, April 12 at the Brookland Baptist Church in West Columbia. Perhaps no graduate was more appreciative of this milestone than Columbia resident Lacie Lybrand.
A military wife and young mother, Lybrand began the associate degree in nursing program in 2017. On her first day of school, her mother was diagnosed with stage four cancer. Lybrand remained in school, while helping to care for her mother when she could.
Later that year, Lybrand’s youngest daughter, age seven, fell ill with chronic hepatitis. Lybrand spent the rest of the semester juggling classes with her daughter’s frequent hospital visits. She studied by her bedside and in clinic waiting rooms many late nights.
Months later, after a long battle with chronic illness, Lybrand’s father passed away.
The 29- year- old mom was not deterred. Her passion for nursing only grew during her time at Fortis. “I did this for my kids, to show them,” she says. “I didn’t give up. No excuses.”
Lybrand graduated from Fortis not only on time but at the top of her class with outstanding grades and superior clinical evaluations. Her mother and children were in attendance to cheer her on.