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At 34 years old, Marquida Morgan is a mother, a cancer survivor and a doctor. She’s a walking testament of faith and strength and will soon be walking the stage to receive her degree.

In a Facebook post shared earlier this week, Morgan announced to her community that she’d completed her medical school journey despite many trials and tribulations along the way.

“Today marks the end of my academic journey. The road was paved with many trials and tribulations. By God’s grace and mercy I persevered through it all and accomplished my goal. I want to share my graduation video with you all. Hopefully it spreads motivation and encouragement. May was my original last month. Despite my many efforts, I had to continue through the summer. I have battled for this moment to the very last minute.

I can’t thank my family and friends enough. God truly placed a great spirit in me to do for others so I was surrounded with love and care when I needed it the most.

One of those tribulations included cervical cancer.

Who is Dr. Marquida Morgan?

Dr. Marquida Morgan’s story begins in the Englewood neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois. In a documentary chronicling her experiences – Becoming Dr. Marquida Morgan – she talks about how she had the best of both worlds–growing up in the culture of Englewood but having access to the best education due to her mother’s sacrifices.

Throughout her educational journey, Marquida explored interests in different career paths but when she had the opportunity to witness childbirth, she knew she wanted to become a midwife. She enrolled in nursing school at The University of Illinois at Chicago and also during that time, learned that she was pregnant with her first child.

As quickly as the news of being pregnant brought joy to her life, a dark shadow was cast over it when, during a medical exam, she found out she had cervical cancer. The news was devastating. Marquida was in shock, overwhelmed and immediately concerned about the well-being of her unborn child.

“The chemo, it changed my mind. There were days where I couldn’t tell you what happened. I lost my hair. It stole moments from the pregnancy–the joy,” recounted Morgan. But she was determined to remain optimistic, leaning into the old adage of “If you’re sad while you’re pregnant, you’re going to have a sad baby.” She said she had to be happy because she wanted her baby to be happy.

Becoming Dr. Marquida Morgan

Months later, her son, Victor, was born and monitored in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit for two weeks. When Victor was allowed to go home, Marquida was readmitted to the hospital for pneumonia with feelings of hopelessness because she couldn’t be with her new baby.

Soon after being released, Morgan received news that she was cancer free and celebrated the victory with her family.

Dr. Marquida Morgan credits her village for helping her persevere. Her journey has taught her that despite doing everything in her power to plan her future, it’s impossible because life doesn’t happen that way. “It comes to you as it comes, you roll with the good and the bad and you keep pushing–persevere and do what you need to do.” But she wholeheartedly believes that the future is up from here. 

To learn more about Dr. Marquida Morgan’s story, check out her documentary, Becoming Dr. Marquida Morgan.

Tanesha Peeples is driven by one question in her work--"If not me then who?" As a strategist and injustice interrupter, Tanesha merges the worlds of communications and grassroots activism to push for radical...