Former Foster Child Defies Odds, Heads to UCLA Med School On Full Ride Scholarship

22-year-old Festus Ohan, a University of California Riverside graduate, hasn’t let his upbringing in the foster care system bring him down. He has been accepted to nine medical schools.

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Festus Ohan speaks to ABC 7 in a video interview, Los Angeles, Calif.

 KABC-TV/DT

Growing up as a foster child, bouncing from one home to the next can be a traumatizing experience with long-term effects, but Festus Ohan hasn’t let his lot in life deter him from striving for more, but he did note that the wounds of his father abandoning him remain fresh.

“I went to bed in tears crying, praying, asking God ‘why did this happen to me’” Ohan said, according to ABC 7.

He can’t keep track of how many foster homes he has cycled through. Seven, maybe eight, reports ABC 7.

“My time in the foster care system was the worst time in my life,” Ohan said, which made focusing on doing well in school all the more challenging, ABC 7 reports.

“Early on in high school, I got in trouble for fighting a lot, and I was in a pre-expulsion contract,” Ohan said, ABC 7 reports.

Ohan, 22, held tightly to his dreams of one day attending medical school, despite ridicule from his foster parents.

“Constantly hearing my foster parents throw statistics at me, about there’s only a 1 percent chance that a foster kid will even graduate college, let alone attend professional school, kind of impacted me in a way,” Ohan said, according to ABC 7.

Even with the odds were stacked against him, Ohan graduated from University of California, Riverside, with a degree in neuroscience, and has received acceptance letters from several medical schools throughout the country, including Northwestern University, Columbia University, Cornell University, University of California, San Francisco, University of Houston, University of California, Los Angeles and University of Southern California.

Jan Forrester of UC Riverside said she “felt like a proud parent” when she heard the good news of his acceptance letters, and can still recall the day she first met Ohan, reports ABC 7.

“He had never heard that he could do this before, you could start to see him start to believe he could be a doctor,” she said, according to ABC 7.

Come fall, Ohan will attend UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, with a fellowship that will cover all his expenses.

“Never give up, really hold on to your dreams because as long as you’re able to stick through it and persevere, you will accomplish your goals,” Ohan said, reports ABC 7.

“I actually start Aug. 4, so I’ll have like a 6-week break, but I’m excited for the next step in my journey,” Ohan said, according to ABC 7.

Ohan hopes his difficult journey will inspire other young people who may be struggling in life.

 Read more at ABC 7 .

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