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Missoula senior headed to Yale after fighting through medical issues

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MISSOULA -

One Hellgate High School student is headed to an ivy league school after struggling with health issues his junior year. The repercussions of this have been very difficult to manage, yet he never lost a step in his academic pace. 

Brendan Campbell was a swimmer, a pianist and a cellist. He loved doing all these things,and spent most of his time doing one of the three. However medical issues at the end of his sophomore year forced him to re-frame his life.

"This situation's prevented me from doing all of them and I had to relearn...'OK, I can't do this anymore. What still matters to me and how do I pursue that and find new passions and it took some time. It took a lot of time and was not easy," says Campbell.  

Campbell has chronic pain from a neuro-muscular problem in his arms and legs. He says the hardest park was getting over his own ego.

"Going from someone who's an able-bodied swimmer and pianist and cellist and all these things to someone who's not, very quickly in a short period of time, it was really hard to get over that mental hurdle and be OK with asking for help."

Campbell says it took a lot of hard work and help from friends, family and coaches who made him realize what matters. His senior year, he was voted "Best Personality" by his classmates and given the "Most Inspiring Student" award for the district. 

In the fall, Campbell will attend Yale University, something he calls a dream come true. He's not sure what he is going to study yet. For now, Campbell's just focused on being himself and he encourages other students to do the same.

"We live in a world, a society where we are expected to do certain things, and there are hoops you have to jump through, tests you have to take if you want to go to college, things like that, but I also think it's really important to not sacrifice who you are and what matters to you."

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