By Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger
Competitive surfer, 17-year-old Patrick Ivison walked to the podium at the Scripps Ranch High School graduation ceremony and received his diploma on Thursday. Since we’re in graduation season there’s not much surprising there and a surfing teen in San Diego, California is about as newsworthy as a robin in spring. What makes Patrick unique is that he is paralyzed from the waist down. He has been since he was 14-months-old when a car accidentally back over him in a parking lot.
At age 8, Patrick began adaptive surfing, and by 13 he was competing in the U.S. Open of Surfing and Life Rolls On program designed to improve the lives of teens with spinal cord injuries. “We couldn’t be more proud of Patrick Ivison,” said Kris Nakamura, executive director of Life Rolls On, in a statement. “Serving as an ambassador for Life Rolls On Foundation since he began surfing with us at 8-years-old, he has grown into an incredible young man who continues to be a shining example of how life truly rolls on after spinal cord injury. His first steps are just an example of even greater things to come.”
Leading up to Thursday’s graduation, Patrick had endured three years of grueling six hour per day physical therapy sessions to keep his promise to everyone to make the walk. The teen’s tenacity didn’t go unnoticed either. “There’s always that like, oh, I’ve got, you know, all of America expecting me to get through this,” Ivison told KGTV in San Diego.
With the help of his trainer, a custom walker, his service dog, and a standing ovation, the 4.0 student rose from his wheelchair and took the steps that led to the next phase of his life. “He walked slow and it was the best walking he has ever done. “We’re thrilled, proud and words can’t express the emotions,” said his grandmother, Janice Kyler.
Patrick will be attending the University of Southern California to study film making next semester. If he wants to start his work with an inspirational biography, I think we can make a unanimous suggestion.
~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger
14 thoughts on “Grace Under Pressure: Paralyzed Surfer Walks At High School Graduation”
Well done, Mr. Ivison … Onward to the next hurdle.
Wow! Great story Mark.
What an inspiration to all of us!
Okay. Empathy button open.
Different then below neck but my left side of face was paralyzed, frm med. mal during surgery. No one told me to try physical therapy and it remained pretty bad for years. A few years ago, about 20 years after the fact, I decided to try and exervcise it. I have gotten more movement in my smile, sometimes you almost can’t tell, and my forehead, which had virtually no movement, now has a little so, when they tell you it can;t be done… don;t listen.
you got that right in spades. It was a seriously big deal for that young man. It looked like he has some movement in his legs so hopefully he will one day walk un-assisted.
Matt, Doesn’t amount to much?. Please open up your empathy button and imagine not being able to stand, having people ignore you because you are not on the same physical level, sitting, sitting, sitting. And then imagine being upright, on your own two feet. It amounts to a lot, a heck of a lot.
Are you talking to me or your sister.
Well told Mark… Thanks for the inspirational story…
Did some surfing in Hawaii and Diego Garcia. Didn’t much like it.
Honor the guy for surfing, but I don’t think it amounts to much.
Another 17 year old California high schooler led the U.S. Open (golf) for awhile yesterday.
A job well-done, Mr. Ivison.
With that kind of tenacity, I’m sure you’ve got a bright future in front of you.
Congratulations on both of your achievements!
Awesome, simply awesome.
I just read this past week about this new assiustive device that gets the paralyzed to stand, to be able to do more in and outside the home, on their own and at full height. It is truly a wonder to behold.
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