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One MCC student’s path to healthcare

Amanda Gram

MARSHALLTOWN – A quick moment in time can change a person’s life and educational goals forever. Recent Marshalltown Community College graduate Amanda Gram found her path to a healthcare career while vacationing with her family in California.

On June 17th, 2018 Gram, was shopping in a Walmart store in California when her mom suffered sudden Cardiac arrest. They went to Walmart the night before they were scheduled to return to Iowa. “Out of the corner of my eye I saw my mom collapse. I ran over to her, not knowing if she fainted. She was unresponsive,” commented Gram.

After checking for her pulse and not finding one, she yelled for someone to call 911. She called her older sister to let her know what happened, and then began administering CPR. “I got into position and told my mom sorry if I hurt you. I had learned that when you do CPR properly you may break a rib.” For six minutes Gram performed CPR on the Walmart floor until the EMS arrived and took over.

Gram had just finished a Phlebotomy course the June before through Iowa Valley Continuing Education with the support of the Gap and PACE program. She was also CPR certified in May 2018.

Gram’s mom spent four days in ICU and two days in the hospital and six months in recovering and is now doing well. It has been almost two years since her heart attack. The whole experience cemented Gram’s decision to continue her interest in the medical field. She applied to MCC July 2018 and planned to go through the medical assistant program. During the fall semester, due to some health issues and her children at home she had to change her program of interest. “I knew the course load was too much. I have two young children at home, my youngest is Autistic.”

As heartbroken as she was, Gram knew she had to switch her program because she was determined to graduate college. “Here I am, 13 years after graduating high school, I can finally say I am graduating college! Although I’ve struggled and had some obstacles along the way. Here I am a 2020 MCC College Graduate!”

Gram graduated with her diploma for Medical Office Practitioner. Her goals after graduation are to work in a clinic office and she is considering returning to MCC in the fall to finish her Medical Assistant Program goal. “I have a fire in me that wants to continue my original goal and continue the Medical Assistant Program. Of course it all depends on where life takes me.”

“What happened with my mom motivated me to finally go back to school! I joke and tell my mom that my cap is going to say, it all started on the floor at Walmart, now I’m here!”

Even with challenges along the way, Gram really enjoyed her time at MCC and the instructors and staff that helped her. “Dee Lynk, Kristen Murphy and the library staff were all amazing! Dee and Kristen motivated me to keep going when I endured some medical issues that resulted in me changing my programs. Even though I thought I had wasted my time and schooling because I couldn’t finish the program they assured me that it wasn’t the end and that my classes would count towards completing the medical office practitioner program!”

Gram would like to pass on to student looking to go into the Medical Assisting program or to taking classes at MCC that everyone can do it if you do it with passion and perseverance. She also hopes that her kids learned that it is never too late to achieve your goals. “I went to college after high school and failed the first time. It took 11 years, two kids and a very traumatic experience to finally decide to return to school. It’s never too late to better yourself! Anything you put your mind, blood, sweat and tears into, you can achieve!”

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