JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Sometimes the most inspirational stories are right in front of you and you may never know.
That’s the case with Griffin Furlong.
Furlong lost his mother to leukemia when he was just 6-years-old.
After her death, he moved into a homeless shelter with his father and older brother.
For years, his friends and teachers had no idea about his circumstances.
Furlong said, “At some points, I wanted to quit. It was horrible. A kid should not have to go through that.”
His family moved to Florida and was able to afford to live in a rental house.
A month ago with finals and AP tests still ahead, Furlong found himself homeless again.
His girlfriend’s family allowed him to stay with them for a few weeks before he moved in with other family members.
Through it all, he earned a 4.65 GPA and will graduate as his school’s valedictorian.
He said, “I know that I have everything to lose so I just push myself. School is all I have, family is all I have. I am doing it all for me and what I have been through. I am doing it for my mom.”
Furlong’s motto has always been ‘never give up,’ and now he is heading to Florida State University to study civil engineering.
Jennifer Stover said, “I wrote him a letter of recommendation and said he was the hardest working, most motivated student I have ever had.”
Mendy Nancarrow, Furlong’s cousin, said, “He never missed a day of school, was always at baseball practice and managed to get his homework done every night and always do well.”
Furlong has received some money to help with expenses at Florida State, but it was nowhere near enough.
That’s when his friends set up an online fundraiser to help pay for his tuition.
So far, the campaign has raised more than $95,000.