Grad draws inspiration from father on educational journey

Bryanna Ferren celebrates with her father

Dec. 3, 2021 — DENTON — Most people have a motivating factor that helps them reach an ambitious goal. Sometimes, the motivating factor is a person. For Bryanna Ferren, it’s her dad, Kevin. He has helped her and motivated her to graduate with a bachelor of science in child development.

Kevin suffers from a rare heart condition called Tetralogy of Fallot caused by a combination of four heart defects from birth. His heart condition created challenges throughout his life, but Bryanna says he was always there for her. She was active in gymnastics and cheer growing up, and her father made it to every practice and competition. He taught her how to drive. As the most consistent presence in Bryanna’s life, he even showed up in situations that not many other fathers do, sometimes awkwardly so.

She has always been happy to have her father in her life, and lately even more so. Her father’s heart failed in 2019. Because of his condition, a normal heart transplant was unlikely, but he was able to be accepted into a clinical trial. That led to a 14-hour heart transplant surgery and a long, painful recovery. Through it all though, Kevin kept telling his daughter not to worry about him and to keep going through school.

Bryanna Ferren stands with her father Kevin

Facing financial and emotional challenges, Bryanna did just that. She kept going and will be the first in her family to earn a college degree.

Just as Kevin’s recovery from the heart transplant has improved, he faces a new challenge in his health. Because of his heart condition and the transplant, Kevin is even more susceptible to health issues. Recently, he was diagnosed with cancer in his appendix.

He is scheduled to have the appendix removed but told Bryanna that it can happen before or after her graduation because he plans to be there. When she asked what if it has to happen on the day of her graduation, he replied, “I’ll tell them I’m busy.”

With the resiliency Kevin and Bryanna have shown, they are ready for whatever comes next.

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Joshua Flanagan
Digital Content Manager

Page last updated 4:30 PM, December 3, 2021