BRISTOL, R.I. (AP) – Four years ago, Michael Moore was a 34-year-old costume designer in Manhattan who thought he needed new glasses.

But soon after he was diagnosed with a degenerative condition caused by diabetes he’s had since childhood. After months of surgeries, he was essentially blind. “I thought my life was over,” he said.

Yet Moore has turned his adversity into a determined quest to help others – armed with a law degree. He graduated from Roger Williams University’s law school on Sunday. Now, the 38-year-old wants to be an advocate for disabled children, The Providence Journal reported.

Moore said he applied to Roger Williams because this bayside school accepted him without any conditions. His grades suffered his first year, as he struggled commuting from Warren and working out a schedule with teachers.

An undergraduate student read the coursework to him. He recorded lectures. For exams, questions were read to him, and he dictated his answers. His guide dog, a Labrador retriever named Kyack, accompanied him everywhere.

When he first arrived at the Ralph R. Papitto School of Law, Moore thought he’d become an entertainment lawyer. Then, he decided he wanted to be a tax attorney. Then, he took a class called Children and the Law.

“While I think I would be a great blind entertainment or tax lawyer,” he told the Journal, “I think I’d make a real impact representing handicapped kids.”

Moore said he’ll use the money from two awards being given to him to support himself while he studies for the bar exam in New York City. He also plans to apply to graduate programs in social work.

AP-ES-05-16-04 1114EDT

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