An Ohio teenager with cerebral palsy surprised her parents by walking across the stage at her high school graduation.
Lexi Wright, 19, shocked her parents and the rest of the crowd at Ravenna High School on Wednesday night when she got out of her wheelchair and, gripping a walker, walked across the stage to accept her diploma.
Almost immediately after she started walking, people began applauding, reported the Ravenna Record-Courier.
Wright’s mother Dede was especially touched to see her daughter, who doctors said would likely die within one year of birth and would never walk, walk for the first time.
“I knew nothing about it until they started to move her feet (support) on her wheelchair, then I knew something was happening,” Dede said. “When she received a standing ovation, that melted my heart.”
Wright practiced for an entire year in secret to be able to walk across the stage.
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“I thought to myself: Wouldn’t it be cool if I walked across the stage and received my diploma?” Wright told Fox 8.
She practiced at least once a week with a physical therapist at school.
And when the moment she dreamed of arrived, she delivered.
“My hands and my feet were shaking, but as I was walking I felt amazing, like I thought to myself, wow, I’m really doing this,” she said.
Wright has cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder.
“In general, cerebral palsy causes impaired movement associated with abnormal reflexes, floppiness or rigidity of the limbs and trunk, abnormal posture, involuntary movements, unsteady walking, or some combination of these,” according to the Mayo Clinic. “People with cerebral palsy may have problems swallowing and commonly have eye muscle imbalance, in which the eyes don’t focus on the same object. People with cerebral palsy also may suffer reduced range of motion at various joints of their bodies due to muscle stiffness.”
Wright’s mother said she always told her daughter that she could do anything she wanted.
“I always try to embed in her brain that she can do whatever she wants in life and to not let anyone tell her differently,” Dede said. “I guess what I am saying is, the sky is the limit and for her not to think that because she is disabled that she can’t do what other people do. She is capable of doing whatever she sets her mind to. She has always been a determined girl.”