Wheelchair-Bound Student Fulfills Goal of Walking at Graduation
A wheel-chair bound teenager walked at his graduation this weekend to thunderous applause.
19-year-old Doug Haynes of Bearden, Arkansas has suffered from muscular dystrophy since the age of twelve. After surgery for the disease left him confined to a wheelchair last November, Haynes made a vow to himself that he would walk at graduation.
In the months after the surgery Haynes underwent countless hours of physical and occupational therapy while at the same time completing his senior year course-load. All the while Haynes kept his goal to walk at graduation a secret, only telling family, the school’s principal, and a classmate.
Haynes’ mother, Robin Doherty, discussed her son’s determination with ABC News/Good Morning America saying, “Doug is a very determined guy. He faces things head on and just attacks it.”
When the big moment arrived, Haynes was helped into a standing position by his physical therapist and then proceeded to walk and receive his diploma. The crowd inside the auditorium, many who knew Haynes since was was a young child, erupted into a standing ovation.
Video of Doug’s walk was captured by family friend Cheryl Tucker Carlin, who later posted it on Facebook. She spoke with GMA about the bond the town had with Haynes saying, “His town has rallied around him and provided so much support and become a big family for him.”
Doherty expressed how much the moment meant to her son – whose scheduled to start at a local work program after graduation – saying that he told her “Mom, when they stood up I almost lost it.”