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Liberty University student with rare liver disease reaches graduation

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LYNCHBURG (WSLS10) - This Saturday, hundreds of Liberty University seniors will transition from student to alum.

We spoke to one Liberty student who did not think she would reach graduation due to a rare liver disease. Now, she's getting ready for the moment she's been waiting for the last seven years.

"I wasn't sure if I'd live, let alone graduate from college," said senior Ashely Traficant.

It's been a seven year struggle for Ashley Traficant to finish her degree in government at Liberty University. Now, she's getting ready for her big moment.

"I am so excited!" said Ashley, "This day has been something I've dreamed of and been afraid to dream of over at different times."

When she was 16, Ashley was diagnosed with Lyme disease and a rare liver disease that caused her muscles to deteriorate.

She was limited to a wheelchair.

"It's primary sclerosis cholangitis, it causes muscle wasting," Ashley told us. "So, your fat and muscles actually waste away. I started to lose the strength to walk. I could barely sit up on my own."

Ashley said it was her brother, Jeremy who saved her life. In 2013, he gave her 65-percent of his liver.

"I would come home from school my freshman and sophomore year and see my sister deteriorating, coming closer and closer to dying," said Jeremy Traficant. "I was tired of coming home and not being able to do anything."

It was a 10 hour operation. Doctors were concerned Ashley would not make it through the surgery, but together, her and her brother recovered. Shortly after, Jeremy transferred to Liberty to remain close to his sister.

Ashley was in and out of the school multiple times since her freshman year in 2008. Other classmates have already moved on but now it's her turn.

"I just am beyond excited and grateful for this day rain or shine," said Ashley.

After graduation Ashley plans to move to the Washington D.C. area to pursue a career in foreign policy.