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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – There’s excitement in Friendly Manor- where 29-year old Daniel Cummiskey lives. He has finally earned what he’d been working on for the last 11 years. An education that he wanted and got, in spite of everything he’s gone through.

Daniel Cummiskey suffers from Schizoaffective disorder – a mental illness in the schizophrenia category. He has been in and out of the psych wards for years.

“It was very difficult,” he said. “There were times when I was thinking, I can’t go on.”

Cummiskey’s learning disabilities were found early on in grammar school but the full extent of his illness wasn’t discovered until after high school.

He remembers his first mental breakdown in the first semester of college.

“You feel things that make you uncomfortable,” he told CBS 11. “And it wears you out after a while.”

He pulled out of college, but his dream of finishing his education did not die.

“I had many inspirations,” he said. “My mom, the movie Rudy was a huge inspiration,” he said.

Especially when the players go into coach Devine’s office to give up their jerseys for Rudy.

“All the players come up to coach’s office and say I want Rudy to wear my jersey, I want Rudy to wear my jersey.” he said. “That was pretty cool.”

He persevered, just like Rudy did. And this year- it paid off, when he earned an associate’s degree in arts, with honors after almost a decade. It took time, not because of lack of desire, but because of his illness.

His mother Marie Quintana says there’s a lot to learn from Cummiskey’s determination.

“After watching him go through these 11 years, in and out of the hospitals, taking and retaking the same course over and over again, I have learned so much,” she said

Cummiskey lives in Friendly Manor- a home of disabled men. He calls the caretaker, Susie- his second mother. This is his home and he says he’s very happy here.

“He has been inspirational to other guys here,” Susie said.

Cummiskey believed in his dreams. And he never gave up.

“It’s like they always say, if you dream big and never give up your dreams, you can accomplish everything.”

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