Shaledra Turner says it was her “best friend” who motivated her to work hard, focus, study and strive for success in life.That “best friend” was Turner’s grandmother Doris Wade. And even though she died in December 2014, her words of wisdom and support inspired Turner to further her education, scholarships, training and a career in the medical field.
“She (Wade) was a strong force in my life, and me and my mom stayed with her most of my life. Between her and my mom, they are the reason I am what I am today,” she says.
Turner, 26, is currently enrolled in Polk State College Lakeland’s Respiratory Care program. She started the program in August 2020 and hopes to complete her courses and graduate by spring 2022.
The Lakeland native has a lifelong history of asthma, so as a child she would often end up in the hospital emergency room. Those experiences allowed her to see and experience firsthand what respiratory therapists do to help those who are struggling.
“As a kid, you know someone is there to help you, and you learn the difference between the different medical fields. That made me want to help kids the way the therapists helped me when I was younger,” says Turner.
“When my grandmom died, I hit rock-bottom. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, and I was always angry and upset,” says Turner.
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