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Judith Aidoo, owner of an investment firm on Wall Street, saw Mary's sign and spread the word about Mary's plight to everyone she knew. "I thought it was fearless. She was absolutely prepared. She had stellar grades and great SAT scores. She believed she had earned her right to go to Columbia and I believed in her."

Not even six weeks from the day they met, they've received donations from all over the world and raised more than $40,000. Today, Mary is halfway through her freshman year at Barnard College, a women's college at Columbia University.

"I just want to take this opportunity to say thank you so very much," Mary tells Judith. "I know those words, they don't possibly express the depth of my gratitude. But thank you so much. You saved my dream, my life, my soul. I have a future now. Whatever I become, I'll have you to thank for it. Thank you so much."
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FROM: Tom Hanks and the Person Who Made You Believe
Published on October 26, 2004

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