#1 NYT bestselling author Linda Lael Miller

Dawn Thurmond, 30, of El Paso, TX

Dawn Thurmond She is a single Hispanic mother, struggling to provide for her severely disabled son and to complete her undergraduate degree at the University of Texas at El Paso. As a student of political science and communications, this positive, motivated woman is also an advocate for people with disabilities and works in the community to improve their lives. On her own since age 19, she wants to earn her law degree and go on to educate politicians that everyone, despite their labels or hardships, can live full and happy lives.

Dawn says her five-year-old son, Zachary, who was born with cerebral palsy, is a hero. Having made strides that confound doctors, he inspires others by his refusal to give up or to give in to the idea that life has handed him a raw deal.

With an educational career that has spanned more than 13 years, Dawn was due to graduate in December of 2004 when she learned that she would no longer quality for student loans or financial aid, because she had reached the allowable attempted hours for students. Her Linda Lael Miller Scholarship for Women is helping her obtain that degree, the one thing Dawn knows will help her create a better life for her and her son.

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