A Turkish mother’s love helped her son with Cerebral Palsy manage through academic hurdles to ultimately graduate with honors and land himself a scholarship out of the country, to U.C. Santa Cruz! Murat Can Çiçek is the first person from Turkey to receive this scholarship from Google which offers one of the most prestigious scholarships for people with disabilities.
Born in a small town in Turkey, Murat was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at a young age – he can’t walk and has difficult talking and using his hands. After being rejected by many schools as a young boy, his mother, Nilgün Çiçek, taught herself English so she could teach her son how to read, write and basic math. She even taught herself how to drive so she could take her son to school where, through her love and encouragement, he flourished. Murat eventually taught himself various languages, including computer code, and went on to graduate top of his class in computer science. “I believe that my son will do things that will benefit not just us but every individual with disabilities around the world,” says Ms. Çiçek.
In this short film about his life and relationship with his dear mother, Murat declares that he is not the real hero of this story. “You’ll say ‘Wow, he made it on his own’ [but] the true hero is my mother.”
Murat will be attending U.C. Santa Cruz this fall where he is planning to pursue a doctorate in artificial intelligence.