Wow. This is such a remarkable and beautiful story that is sure to tug at those heartstrings!
A Norton High School Senior, Bryce Swartz, has walked for the first time in his life, and it was to cross the stage at graduation to accept his diploma, on Tuesday night.
The Ohio 20-year-old was born with the physical disability and was paralyzed from the chest down. Doctors did not expect him to live past 18 months, and when he did, they said he would never walk. However, after numerous surgeries, Swartz was determined to not let his disability define him.
Swartz was voted as the Panther’s Homecoming Kind AND received an award from OHSAA for his courage.
Both his father and mother, Beth, were nervous, but Bryce was excited and well prepared.
He’d been training and practicing for more than a year with his physical therapist assistant, Turranna Rice, at Akron Children’s Hospital.
“Bryce is one of the sweetest kids you’ll ever work with,” said Rice, “Doesn’t matter what you put him through.”
Bryce had to be fitted with special braces that work with the body’s momentum, and learn how to use quad canes, which requires a lot of upper-body strength, endurance and mental focus.
Before the ceremony, he worked with Rice one more time, and then easily walked across the stage where his father, who is a Norton teacher and coach, was waiting with his son’s diploma.
While his classmates cheered wildly, Bryce flashed a big smile, hoping his efforts will inspire others to take the first step toward making their dreams come true.
Bryce gave a motivational word of advice to everyone when he said, “Where there’s a will there’s a way.”