By Bob Allen

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A college student from Hampton Township almost died when he was struck by lightning earlier this year, but this weekend, he earned his college degree, and his father thinks it’s nothing short of a miracle.

When Sean Ferguson graduated from the University of Dayton, it marked the end of a miraculous recovery and the beginning of a new life for a changed man.

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On April 8th, Ferguson was walking across campus when he was struck by lightning. A fellow student who took a CPR course happened to be in the area and saved Ferguson’s life.

At first Sean’s father, Mark Ferguson, asked, why was his son struck by lightning? But he came to a realization.

“I realized that Sean had died, and it was because of God that he was resuscitated and had given Sean his life back,” Mark said.

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But Sean’s battle was far from over. He had burns on more than 35 percent of his body and was unconscious in the hospital, but one night after a family prayer, he regained consciousness.

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The road to recovery was long and arduous. He underwent painful skin grafts and his jaw was wired shut after an operation.

“Through it all, he never really questioned and he kept his faith,” Mark said. “And he felt like he was going to get through it.”

Sean had to undergo rehabilitation to learn how to walk again, but he fought for his life and, eight months later, earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration.

“When you’re simply fighting for your life, school graduation, that’s the last thing from your mind, “Sean said. “Once I was able to get back up on my feet, you know, really, this provided a motivation for me to be able to try to get back in August, finish up my last semester…”

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Mark says his son literally witnessed his own funeral and is a changed man after seeing the outpouring of love and compassion from others. Sean will soon begin a new job, but plans to dedicate his life to helping people.

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“This isn’t a story about the Fergusons,” Mark said. “It’s not a story about Sean Ferguson. It’s a story of God’s presence and God’s mercy and his abundance that he’s there to help all of us.”