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UCR Student Walking a Long Road to Recovery To Receive 1998 Business Administration Degree Saturday

UCR Student Walking a Long Road to Recovery To Receive 1998 Business Administration Degree Saturday

(June 15, 1999)

NOTE TO EDITORS: Mike Durnell will be one of the first graduates to receive his bachelor's degree at commencement ceremonies scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Saturday, June 19, on the Commons Mall. Graduates are expected to process to the stage for degree con ferral beginning approximately 6:45 p.m. In addition to UCR commencement ceremonies, the media is invited to attend and cover a private, post-commencement celebration for family and friends of Mike Durnell. For commencement information, call Kathy Barton at (909) 787-2495. For information about the post-commencement event, call Michelle Johnson at (310) 827-8385 or (310) 840-7956 (daytime).

Mike Durnell - the UCR student whose college education was interrupted nearly two years by a motorcycle accident that claimed his left arm and left leg and nearly claimed his life - will achieve one goal this Saturday and face yet another daunting task in his road to recovery.

That Durnell will be able to walk onto the stage to receive his bachelor's degree in business administration in commencement ceremonies scheduled for 6 p.m. this Saturday is seemingly miraculous. But his recuperation from a November 1996 head-on crash with a elderly woman who said she fell asleep at the wheel is far from over.

In August, he will undergo surgery on his shoulder that is hoped will relieve some of the excruciating pain he still suffers. After Durnell's arm was torn off in the accident, it is believed that nerve clusters formed, clusters that cause enormous pain even from the pressure of a cotton T-shirt or a breeze passing over the skin.

Early next year, he plans to undergo a complicated surgery in hopes of lengthening what is left of the femur bone in his leg so that walking with a prosthetic leg will be far less difficult and tedious. For about a year following the surgery, he will be confined to a wheelchair while the contraption surgically attached to his leg stump hopefully causes bones, nerves and muscles to regenerate.

Already, he has undergone more than 20 surgeries and medical procedures, and he continues to have frequent medical appointments for treatment, consultations and physical therapy.

Durnell, who plans a career as a stockbroker, expects to have enormous lifelong uncovered medical and living expenses. Family members and friends have established the Michael Durnell Special Needs Trust. Contributions and letters can be mailed to he trust at California Bank & Trust, 11717 Bernardo Plaza Ct., San Diego, CA 92128.

For more information, contact Durnell's sister, Michelle Johnson, at (310) 827-8385 or (310) 840-7956 (daytime).

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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