A Cowdenbeath man who was on his deathbed with a flesh-eating virus will graduate with a law degree this week.
William Murphy, 52, left school at the age of 15 with no qualifications but always felt like he wanted to achieve more.
Following school, he began a 25-year career in sales and started a family.
However, in 2012 William was struck down with necrotizing fasciitis.
The flesh-eating virus wreaked havoc on William’s body and his family was told to prepare for the worst.
But he survived and is now preparing to graduate from Abertay University this week
Mr Murphy said: “It all happened in the space of one weekend.
“I went from a happy, healthy person, to my family being called to the hospital and a priest reading me my last rites.”
After his initial operation to save his life, William faced nine further procedures to improve his quality of life.
The trauma from this process severely impacted William’s mental health, and he turned to alcohol to cope.
“After going through so much my drinking became problem drinking,” he said.
“I knew I had to give it up.
“I needed to make a positive change and pursue what I’ve always wanted to do.”
While in recovery Mr Murphy decided to enrol in an access to law course at college, which helped him gain a place to study law at Abertay.
Unfortunately, his challenges were far from over when he began university.
On William’s second day of studying his father unexpectedly passed away.
Then his mother was diagnosed with lung cancer a year into his course.
He reached out to staff to see how they could help him.
William said: “My lecturers and support staff at university were fantastic during this difficult time.
“They really encouraged me to keep going with my course whilst helping me catch up with work when grieving and caring for my mum.”
He managed to get back on track but struggled with his mental health when the pandemic hit.
Mr Murphy added: “I felt like giving up.
“I felt so isolated during the pandemic.
“However, my lecturers and tutors kept in regular contact and refused to let me give up on myself.
“I am so grateful to them because I wouldn’t have been able to achieve my dream of obtaining a law degree without their help.”
William will join hundreds of fourth year law LLB students from Abertay in a virtual graduation ceremony on July 15.
“Abertay University took a chance on me and helped me fulfil a lifelong wish,” he said.
“If you’re thinking about attending university, just go for it.
“Who knows what you can achieve?
“I’m now so excited for what comes next.”
Professor Annelize McKay, head of division for law at Abertay is proud of her strong-willed student.
She said: “I am absolutely thrilled with what William has achieved here during his time at Abertay.
“He has faced more challenges than most will in their life and has gone on to flourish and reach his goals.
“I would like to wish William and all of our graduates the very best for the future and I can’t wait to see what they will go on to achieve.”