Teen paralyzed from waist down in shootings stuns classmates by walking across graduation stage

A teen who was left paralyzed after being shot in the back has surprised his classmates after getting up and walking across the stage at his high school graduation, to collect his diploma.

Aaron Willis was 15, in 2012, when he lost the use of his legs after a bullet hit him as he cycled home on his bike.

The shooting was found to be a case of mistaken identity, but Aaron’s outlook on life remained strong when he returned to school nine months later in a wheelchair.

Strong steps: At his high school graduation he managed to walk across the stage to pick up his diploma 

A year after being shot, Aaron began to take the first steps on the long road to recovery and walked with braces from waist to his feet, using a walker for support.

Now 19, and nearing the end of his senior year at school, he decided to challenge himself and attempt to walk across the stage at his high school graduation without any help from man nor machine.

‘I’m really happy and really, really blessed to be here because I could have died back in 2012, and I could have died some other times after that, but I’m still here, and I graduated.’ Aaron Willis told CBS Miami.

His friends and fellow classmates had no idea what the tenacious teenager was planning.

Just as almost all the names from his graduating class had been called, Aaron appeared at the side of the stage in his wheelchair.

Thankful: Aaron said that he was walking for his parents who have helped him on the road to recovery

Praise indeed: Aaron received a standing ovation for his courage as he made hi way across the stage

'They are tears of joy and tears of knowing that there is a God somewhere,' said Aaron's father, Sammie Willis

He raised his hands in the air to acknowledge the audiences applause, but then he took the entire school by surprise as he suddenly stood up and took his first remarkable strides across the podium to receive his high school diploma.

The audience cheered, stood up and clapped wildly as Aaron confidently walked towards the dean.

Aaron’s mom and dad cried tears of happiness as their son stepped out to claim the diploma that he had worked hard to achieve.

‘They are tears of joy and tears of knowing that there is a God somewhere,’ said Aaron’s father, Sammie to CBS News.     .

Using special robotic legs he received from the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and after lots of practice, Aaron walked onstage.

‘They never let me get down. They never let me get discouraged,’ he said. ‘So today, I’m not walking for myself. I’m walking for my parents.’

The future looks bright for Aaron as she continues to set himself goals. He was accepted to Florida International University just a day before his graduation, which he will attend on scholarship later this year.

Walking wounded: It took many years of recovery, rehab and physio to Aaron to get back on his feet

   

Source: The DailyMail

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