Bryce Swartz is a senior at Norton High School who has had to face more challenges than others. On Tuesday night, he walked for the very first time at his graduation ceremony.
Bryce was suffering from a severe case of spina bifida, which was paralyzing him from the chest down. At 20 years old, Bryce has been through a lot, but he managed to keep upbeat through most of it.
He has had dozens of surgeries to correct his condition, and according to his father, he has some a long way.
In addition to graduating, he was voted Panthers Homecoming King. He also received the “Courageous Student Award.”
After birth, doctors did not think Bryce would survive past 18 months. 20 years later, he is still proving them wrong. He had been training for his graduation day for more than a year with his phyiscal therapist.
As he walked across stage, his classmates cheered for him wildly. He hopes his story will inspire others.
Before the ceremony, he worked with Rice one more time, and then easily walked across the stage where his father, who is a Norton teacher and coach, was waiting with his son’s diploma. While his classmates cheered wildly, Bryce flashed a big smile, hoping his efforts will inspire others to take the first step toward making their dreams come true. “Where there’s a will there’s a way,” said Bryce. Both his father and mother, Beth, were nervous, but Bryce was excited and well prepared. He’d been training and practicing for more than a year with his physical therapist assistant, Turranna Rice, at Akron Children’s Hospital. “Bryce is one of the sweetest kids you’ll ever work with,” said Rice, “Doesn’t matter what you put him through.”