ORANGEBURG — Henry wasn’t expected to live past age 5.
Born with the medical condition called hydrocephalus, also referred to as “water on the brain,” he has lived for the last two decades with an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the cavities of his brain.
Now 23, Henry Guion astonished many by receiving a bachelor’s degree in communications during commencement exercises recently at South Carolina State University.
Guion first learned of his medical condition in the third grade when his shunt backed up with fluid and was in need of replacement.
With his grades plummeting due to numerous procedures, he said his mother Stephanie Brown-Guion reminded him how important it was to study.
Making sure he had no excuses, Guion put a plan of action in place.
After the doctors told his parents there was a 50/50 chance he would die before age 12, Guion resolved to graduate high school and become a cross country runner.
The honor graduate joined more than 200 students and their families during the university’s fall Commencement Convocation in the Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center.
For Guion, there were times growing up when he felt really down, but he said, “I would always question why I couldn’t be like this person. I matured in college and came into my own.”
The Charleston native served as the university’s mascot, Spike the Bulldog.
A member of Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society, Who’s Who Among American Universities and Colleges, Cheer Squad Psi, cheerleading fraternity, Delta Phi Delta dance fraternity, Guion said the outgoing man people see today was not always so.
He admits he often struggled with “finding myself.”
For that reason he wants to further develop his talents to affect the lives of inner-city youth.
Guion attributes his academic success at the university to the “great relationship with professors such as Delores Anderson, Tedro Rouse, Dr. Sherral Brown-Guyinyard and Gil Harris.”
Guion plans to attend Coker College in January and major in dance with a concentration in performance/choreography.
As a professional choreographer, he feels he can “make a great impact on a lot of people through dance. I want to bring dance to the inner-city youth so that children can have a positive outlet other than running in the streets.
“I’ve been told that I would not live,” Guion said. “Well, I’ve clearly made it beyond what doctors thought was possible, so I know I’ll make it past the age of 30 unless God calls me home.”