AUSTIN, Texas -- Spring graduation ceremonies are underway at the University of Texas. For Kylie Doniak, it's probably a little extra special. She wasn't sure if she'd ever get to this point.
Doniak put on her cap and gown Friday morning. Her family and friends surrounded her at the UT campus. They took photos. Big smiles spread across their faces as they celebrated much more than her diploma.
Doniak's journey to this ceremony was two years delayed. The former soccer player nearly died in February 2012 when a drunk driver hit her in downtown Austin. It happened when Doniak and her friends were crossing the road, walking home after a night out. The driver sped through, hitting them, Kylie took the brunt of the force. She suffered brain swelling, a punctured lung and broken ribs and bones in her leg. Doctors put her into a medically induced coma.
She was a senior at the time. Kylie's mom says her daughter would talk about graduating every day after she woke up. She had just a few classes to finish and earn all of her credits.
"We would have never thought two years ago that this day would ever come," said Lori Doniak, Kylie's mother.
Kylie says her faith pushed her through.
"It's been a really hard journey for me, but [God] gave me a journey where he knew I was going to get through it. He knew I was going to be strong enough to get through it," said Kylie.
Kylie's family has been at her side throughout her recovery. She still needs help. Her brain injury is permanent. However, she continues to make strides and is celebrating every milestone -- like her graduation, the day she never thought she would see.
Graduation ceremonies for all UT students will continue through the weekend. The university-wide ceremony is Saturday at 7 p.m. on the main mall. About 8,200 students are graduating this semester.