VSU student graduates with honors, defies all odds

VSU student graduates with honors, defies all odds

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A tenacious young lady did not allow a near-death tragedy prevent her from graduating college and living her dream.

Kionna Jones has been confined to a wheelchair after she was shot in the neck. Over the weekend, she graduated with honors from Virginia State University.

On Your Side Investigator Diane Walker posted the inspiring accomplishment on Facebook, and it spread like wildfire. The shining example is inspiring people with her perseverance and determination. Her story of overcoming has been shared more than 4,500 times, with over 19,000 likes and more than 900 comments.

It's the back story that's so motivating. I first met Kionna in Petersburg right after the paralyzing bullet took her legs. She was shot in the throat over a pair of sunglasses.

Her family called 12 On Your Side then and many times over the years for help getting a handicap van, forcing Petersburg public housing to make their apartment accessible and back in 2012 when the college student couldn't get to class because of difficulty getting around campus.

"It just makes me mad. It's just little things like this [and] that. I can't go any other way. I can't go upstairs. So, how am I going to get to class? All I can do is email my teacher," Kionna said in 2012. "I want to go to class. No excuses. I just want to go to class."

Kionna stood up for herself and spoke out, getting results that benefited others. She had a difficult challenge but chose to live life like it's golden.

Many of the Facebook comments applaud her for not giving up and being strong and compassionate. They wanted to share her story to help encourage others.

She has a beautiful spirit and is no pushover. She gets it from her mom, Katrina. Their mother-daughter bond is amazing to observe how they support and take care of each other.

As Kionna graduates from Virginia State University, her mother reflected on how far she has come in an email to Diane Walker.

Since her shooting, look at where she is now. I just want to thank you and NBC12 for your support, and I wanted you to know her progress, how well she is doing. God is great! I think it would be an encouraging story for other people, young and old with disabilities, to see that no matter what, you can do it.

Delano King, the man convicted of shooting her, is in prison. His release date is 2025.

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