Injured as a 14 month old infant in a car accident, 17 year old Patrick Ivison always dreamed of walking on stage himself to accept his high school diploma. This June, he saw his dream come true.
The San Diego teen has spent six hours a day for the last three years doing physical therapy in an effort to train for this moment. Having told everyone he knew about his goal, he felt compelled to live up to his promise.
Wild cheers and a standing ovation greeted the Scripps Ranch High School graduate as he made his way across the stage last Tuesday. With the crowd’s encouragement and the assistance of his service dog, his trainer and a special walker, Ivison was able to make it across the stage to receive his diploma. The young man graduated with a 4.0 GPA.
Ivison’s grandmother, Janice Kyler, was amazed by what her grandson achieved. She told reporters that it was the best walking he’d ever done. She went on to call him a sweetheart who has worked incredibly hard to make it to where he is. Kyler said the family was proud and thrilled.
It seems Ivison has always been an inspiration. He saw an adaptive surfer that inspired him to try the sport when he was just 8 years old. He also joined Life Rolls On, a non-profit organization that helps young spinal cord injury victims make more of their lives. Within a few years, he was competing in the U.S. Open of Surfing.
Kris Nakamura, executive director of Life Rolls On, gave a statement in which he expressed the organization’s pride in what Ivison has achieved. Nakamura said Ivison has acted as an ambassador since the days when he first began surfing with them as an 8 year old and that his monumental first steps are just the beginning of what he will do with his life. He is a poster boy of what life can be like after a spinal cord injury.
With his goal of walking during his commencement realized, Ivison is now busy preparing for college. He will be attending University of Southern California where he plans to pursue film studies.