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