Knoxville teenager, once paralyzed, walks at his 8th grade graduation

5:38 PM, May 24, 2010   |    comments
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For many reasons, 8th grade graduation is an enormous and emotional day for Ben Nadolsky.

"Worried about what's to come," says Ben. "Leaving friends and making new ones."

Unlike his fellow graduates, he has additional stress.

"I'm very, very nervous to do it."

Ben is paralyzed from the waist down. For the last year and a half, he's been working day and night towards a specific goal--walking to get his diploma.

"Me and my therapist Jamie have really been looking forward to this."

"I knew he was determined to do this, and I just wanted to give him all the support necessary," says Pam Nadolsky, Ben's mother.

Finally, Ben's name is called. His dream is right in front of him.

"The brace argued with me. It didn't want to move."

But Ben perseveres and brings his classmates and crowd to their feet.

"I really didn't want to draw too much attention, but it was fun."

"I was trying to hold it together because I was standing in front of everybody, but inside I was like, 'Oh my Gosh, I'm just so proud of my son and I cannot believe this,'" Pam Nadolsky says.

"I can't keep from smiling enough because it's been hard. We've had some battles," says Jamie Roberts, Ben's physical therapist. "As a therapist, you can realize things are possible no matter what. People that say they can't don't try hard enough."

With each step, Ben's closer to his ultimate dream of walking unassisted.

"I guess we'll see in four years when Ben graduates from high school where we'll be then," says Pam.

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