Person of the Week: Kellie Lim

Kellie Lim, 26, graduates from UCLA Medical School today, and as a triple amputee, she is a most unusual graduate.

She said she may have had "more obstacles than others," but "because of that, I wanted to see that doubt go away, and I kinda want to beat it."

Lim was stricken with bacterial meningitis at the age of 8 and almost died. Her limbs were ravaged by the disease, and she lost both legs and one arm. She was left with only two working fingers on her remaining left hand.

She was born right-handed and had to relearn everything at that time.

"I learned that I could adapt to a lot of things," Lim said. "I learned how to eat, write and perform tasks with my left hand."

She also learned to walk on two prosthetic legs but never much bothered with the new arm.

"I think my father was actually kind of disappointed," she joked. "I think my father wanted me to use that prosthetic arm and look more able-bodied. However, I fought him."

'My Last Promise to Her'

Lim's mother may have had a special appreciation for what her daughter faced, because her mother was blind.

"She told me to fight. Fight the challenges. Fight the obstacles. Fight off the disease and to definitely be a strong person. She really instilled that in me," Lim said.

Three years ago, Lim's mother died.

"I promised her that I would graduate from medical school. That was my last promise to her," Lim said.

She has now fulfilled that promise, and reached her personal goal of becoming a doctor after first asking medical schools if they had physical requirements for their students.

"One prominent school, however, said I probably won't succeed in medical school and should find a different career," Lim said. "I found that infuriating, to say the least."

So she chose another school, UCLA, that supported her and actually may have offered her too much assistance.

"They said I could have gotten a note taker or have lectures recorded for me," she said. "I never asked for that. It was not necessary. I like to do things on my own."

On her own, Lim drives a car, has learned to swim and skydive, has an active social life and dates often.

She now will be a pediatrician. And like other doctors in training, she makes rounds at the hospital, and faces lots of questions from kids about her limbs.

"I just kinda say to them, 'Look, it's my hand; it's a little different from yours, but its still a hand,'" she said.

And they'll get a doctor who is very talented -- UCLA has awarded Lim its highest award for excellence in pediatrics.

"When I think about it myself its … a girl with two fingers graduating from medical school," she said. "Yes, that's amazing to me, but I don't think of myself as that. … I triumphed in that I attained a goal that other people didn't think I could have gotten -- beating the odds, obviously."

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