|by Anna Simon|
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CENTRAL óAbraham Deng will graduate today from Southern Wesleyan University, reaching a milestone on a journey that started when he was a 6-year-old boy lost in the African jungle.
There will be two celebrations for Deng, who will graduate cum laude, and has received the faculty's Roy Lee Parker Award and other honors.
While Deng and his friends celebrate here, his mother and family members also will celebrate in an Ethiopian refugee camp.
Deng's mother bought a bouquet of pink, red and white flowers for the occasion a huge extravagance in a refugee camp in honor of the graduation of a son who, until about two years ago, she thought was dead.
A relative e-mailed Deng a picture of his mother holding the flowers. Tears fill Deng's eyes each time he looks at it.
The precious diploma a bachelor of science in pre-medicine - and even more precious kindness of friends and strangers who have helped him thus far, bring him one step closer to his goal to return to his homeland as a doctor.
Deng, now 26, one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, was separated from his family during a raid on his village. His path led through the jungle and a series of refugee camps, and then, through a United Nations program, to the United States and college.
A couple of years ago he discovered the whereabouts of his mother and siblings in an Ethiopian refugee camp. A dream came true for him, with the help of The Greenville News readers, this past summer when he was able to visit his mother and family and bring needed food and medical supplies.
Generosity of The Greenville News readers who were touched by his story helped make that trip possible.
The medicine he brought helped many, including his mother, who suffered chronic malaria, typhoid and other ailments, and is now fine, Deng said.
The next step on Deng's journey is medical school.