A Vanderbilt University sophomore has overcome more adversity than most students her age, but she has continued her education, thanks to the generosity of strangers.
Cassie Wessely graduated at the top of her class at her Illinois high school. She cried when she got accepted to Vanderbilt.
“It was just a really great feeling because that’s where I wanted to be,” she explained.
Like most freshmen, Wessely was focused on her schedule and her dorm roommate.
Her life took an unexpected turn three weeks before school started when her mother committed suicide.
“Days before this happened, she told me she’d be coming down with me to bring me to Vanderbilt,” Wessely said.
Her determination and new found love for her school helped her through the first year, but it was still difficult.
Because of the tragedy, Wessely lost around $40,000 in aid that was dependent on her mother’s income.
She came up with about half of the money through loans and savings, however she was more than $20,000 short.
Wessely then posted her story on the Web site GoFundMe.com and the donations came rushing in.
She has raised more than $38,000 in only three days.
Wessely vows to pay it forward after receiving so much generosity.
Vanderbilt University told News 2 it is reaching out to the student about her situation.
The school said it takes special circumstances into account when determining financial aid.