Doug Haynes, of Bearden, Arkansas proved that he is no stranger to hard work, bravery and extreme positivity last week.
After undergoing many long hours of daily physical therapy for the past year to treat the outcome of a surgery for his muscular dystrophy that left him unable to walk, not only did the 19 year-old keep to his plan and graduate high school on time, but he went far beyond.
According to a report on abcnewsgo.com, Haynes got up out of his wheel chair and walked across the stage to get his diploma on his own two feet.
Take a look at the video and watch it happen:
Haynes has had muscular dystrophy since he was 12. It’s true that being confined to a wheelchair has restricted his mobility greatly in the last year, but his dreams have continued to soar.
Working hard with his physical therapist, Haynes developed his ultimate goal to walk at his graduation.
His mother wasn’t sure if he would decide to follow through or not, but with the assistance of his trainer, walk Haynes did, causing his classmates in the auditorium to rise to their feet in a standing ovation.
“Doug is a very determined guy,” his mom, Robin Doherty, told ABC News. “He faces things head on and just attacks it.”
Muscular dystrophy is a group of diseases that consist of abnormal gene mutations that interfere with the production of proteins needed to form healthy muscle mass. People who have the disease can develop symptoms in childhood or as an adult.
The diseases cause patients to grow progressively weaker and to lose muscle mass over time, making it difficult for patients to walk and sometimes to even breathe or swallow.
The diseases have no cure, but medications can help to slow the development of the disabilities down.
Haynes was looking forward to his grand plan for graduation and had kept it a secret. He reportedly only told three people about it, one of them being his principal.
How did he feel upon walking? Great- but the cheering almost got to him. Said his mom in an interview with ABC News,
“He said, ‘Mom, when they stood up I almost lost it.”
According to the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke, M.S affects approximately 1 in every 3,500 to 6,000 males born each year in the United States.