Kedarius Ingram knows what it's like to feel hopeless.

When he was sick, he got so tired of trying. But he wanted a better life, and with some help, he kept going. Now, as he prepares to graduate Dec. 15 with a degree in public health from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, he has a message for others who may need to hear it: never give up.

Ingram came to UAB from Evergreen, Alabama, when he graduated from high school. He struggled his first year, but found his footing when he joined the Blazer Male Excellence Network, which gave him the foundation and fellowship he needed to be successful in school. Things were looking up.

Then, in 2015 during his sophomore year, he started feeling bad.

It began like a cold, with a runny nose, itchy throat and headaches. Then it progressed, into flu-like symptoms with “really bad” migraine-type headaches and body aches. Ingram did not have health insurance. He was going to the emergency room once or twice a month, but the doctors there did not find anything wrong.

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