Hospitalized boy earns diploma

(WTLV) Daniel Hopkins won’t be able to go on stage for graduation later this month due to a rare brain disease, so Middleburg High School came to him Monday at Florida’s Orange Park Medical Center instead.

Hopkins is seriously ill with a disease called neuro-degeneration brain iron accumulation, NBIA for short. Iron accumulation in the brain ganglia restricts nerve signals to the rest of his body. 

“We were told that he would die by the time he was 13,” his mother, Shelly Brannen, says.

Despite the prognosis of death as a young teenager, Hopkins went on to high school. A body wound made him worse in 2011 after basically being doctor free for 10 years. But he attended Middleburg High in a wheelchair as late as December. He was then home-bound, but Middleburg teacher Clara Maynor came to his house and helped him meet the exceptional education requirements for a certificate of completion. Then she arranged this week for the school to come to him for a graduation ceremony hosted by the hospital.

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