Mother and Daughter Overcome Health Problems to Get Degrees | Local news

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Despite health issues, a mother and daughter challenged them and ended up graduating from high school around the same time.

On Thursday, Juanandalynn Heslop received his Masters of Business Administration from the University of South Carolina-Aiken. She previously received her BSc in Computer Science and Mathematics with a Minor in Spanish from Marymount College in 1992.

Lana is a student at the University of Kentucky, graduating with her Bachelor of Health Sciences in Medical Laboratory Science and a minor in Psychology on December 17.

Juandalynn and Lana have lived in Vine Grove since 2018. Juandalynn is the wife of Lt. Col. Larry W. Heslop, G33 COO, 1st Theater Sustainment Command, and Lana’s mother. She also has two other daughters, Lair and Larissa.

Juanandalynn said she started her masters studies in April 2019. As everything got remote during the COVID-19 pandemic, she didn’t mind as it gave her more comfort, especially as her family had to often relocate since her husband has been deployed every two years since 2003.

She operates her own business called Just Right for Me, which helps students find the best fit for college. She is also currently working for the Guardian Research Network as Director of the Office of Project Management and Legal Affairs. She said the company’s goal is to “accelerate the cure from cancer,” something she can relate to.

In March 2019, Juanandalynn was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“I needed something (to go back to school) to distract myself from what I was going through,” Juanandalynn said. “It kept me from feeling hopeless and depressed because I knew I had homework, so it kept me going.”

Around the same time, Lana was also studying in her classes.

Juanandalynn said she and Lana hold each other accountable. When her daughters returned home during the pandemic to do schoolwork, she said they were able to support her and encourage her to continue even when she wanted to quit.

Lana said she wanted to pursue a career in medicine because it was something that interested her when she was young. Slowly, networking and observing other people led her to choose her specialty.

She has participated in several organizations, including the Interprofessional Residential Health Care College, has been a peer mentor and was a member of the pre-medical chapter of the American Medical Student Association. She also became president of the Pan-Hellenic National Council of the United Kingdom after promising the Delta Sigma Theta sorority. She then becomes a member of the Omega Order.

Like her mother, Lana had a health problem to overcome.

At the end of his senior year of high school, he was diagnosed with two forms of lupus – an autoimmune disease.

Before college, Lana was hospitalized for two weeks and doctors advised her not to go to college. Still, she was able to go, supplemented with doctor visits, medications, diet changes, monthly infusions, and making sure to avoid relapses.

“It’s really been a struggle to get to where I am now, but it’s been a blessing to overcome the hurdle of having autoimmune disease and going to college,” Lana said.

Lana is seeking a doctorate in microbiology or micropathogenesis, but is also looking for a job. Juanandalynn said she does not have cancer and has regular follow-ups. She said this degree meant more to her than just career advancement.

“It really has to do with celebrating life and moving to the other side,” she said.

Andrew Harp can be reached at 270-505-1414 or aharp@thenewsenterprise.com.

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