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“I was driving him to symphony practice- he said, ‘I don’t want to go. Can I not go tonight?’ ‘No, you’re going they count on you.’ ‘Why do you push me so hard?’ ‘Because you will never know to which heights you can go unless I push you along’ and he said, ‘that’s great coming from you who never became a doctor!’ That was my wakeup call at age 40,” said O’Connell. At the age of 44, she was granted admission to the CU Anschutz school of medicine.