COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – High school students are getting their cap and gowns ready, with graduation around the corner. One Colorado Springs graduate is sharing her inspirational story, hoping to encourage other kids and teens they can overcome their health obstacles too.

Kari Lucas has come a long way since her sophomore year. Kari’s high school obstacles were unlike most students.

“I woke up one morning with a really bad headache that just wouldn’t go away. Probably one of the worst pains I’ve had in my life. I was losing my appetite. I was sleeping all day and I was not myself,” said Kari Lucas, a graduating senior at Rampart High School.

Suddenly Kari was spending more time in the hospital than in school.

“Right in the E.R. is where I had a stroke. And the whole left side of my body went numb. My dad had to help me walk into the waiting area. Right after the MRI, they came in and were like, we are transferring you up to Children’s Hospital because you have a blood clot,” said Kari.

The blood clot in Kari’s brain was causing her headaches and eventually caused a stroke.

“Nurses and doctors at Children’s Hospital are angels on earth. I cannot say enough about them and how they helped her through everything, even her mental health,” said Jill Lucas, Kari’s mom.

“At the three month scan, I was hoping it’d be gone by then because it was the predicted time. That was like right when my volleyball season was starting to go into travel tournaments and it would be the perfect time for me to get back into things,” said Kari. “But they said it was still there and I still had to be on the blood thinners. And I just, I broke down a little bit there just because I did not know if I was ever going to be able to play volleyball again.”

Volleyball is Kari’s passion and she was playing on the high school team up until her health challenges. During the six months she was out, Kari said missing practice and her teammates was one of the hardest parts for her.

“The support system I had that got me through it all. I had really great friends who came over whenever they could to cheer me up,” said Kari. “My family was always there for me for whatever I needed. And encouraged me that I could get through this and really built up my mental toughness.”

“Kari was a superstar through it all she was the one that was saying don’t cry mom I’m gonna be ok,” said Jill.

After six months, Kari started playing catch up at school and making up for all the work she missed. Kari says all her teachers at Rampart High School worked with her to make sure she could get up to date with her classes. She’s now graduating with a 4.0 GPA.

“I could not be more proud of her. I mean she has worked so hard to get to this point and a lot of kids would’ve just given up. They would have said ‘I’ll just take the C’. And I never once saw that from her. She just kept pushing through and always stayed positive,” said Jill. “She has the biggest heart and I can’t wait to see what life has in store for her.”

“It really just gave me a better sense of self and made me stronger,” said Kari. “Just thank you, all of you, for everything that you’ve done for me. I could not have gotten through it without you.”