Teen with cerebral palsy shocks parents, walks at graduation

RAVENNA, Ohio – The daily routine in the Wright household in Ravenna involves Dede Wright helping her 19-year-old daughter, Lexi Wright, get ready for the day. Lexi has cerebral palsy and gets around in a wheelchair.

“Physical therapy, occupational therapy, you name it. I had to quit work for four years just so I could take her everywhere she needed to go and I wasn’t going to stop; never have, never will,” Dede said.

Lexi was diagnosed when she was born and doctors said she would probably only live a few days.

“I think I said at least five prayers a day every day and the Lord heard us and here she is 19 years later,” Dede said.

Every year, counselors at Lexi’s school would ask her mom what her goals were for her daughter. “I would always tell them, to see her walk across the stage to get her diploma,” Dede explained.

Lexi’s parents always had big hopes and dreams for their daughter, but Lexi herself had a plan.

“I thought to myself: Wouldn’t it be cool if I walked across the stage and received my diploma?” Lexi said. Without her parents knowing, Lexi practiced every week at school with her physical therapist.

Finally, graduation day at Ravenna High School came and she walked across the stage using a walker.

“My hands and my feet were shaking, but as I was walking I felt amazing, like I thought to myself, wow, I’m really doing this,” Lexi said with a smile on her face.

Her parents were so surprised they almost missed the moment.

“When it got to her name and she got up and she started walking I just bawled. Couldn’t cheer her on or nothing; I just bawled the whole time,” Dede said.

The whole audience and Lexi’s classmates gave her a standing ovation. This was the first time her parents have seen her walk by herself.

Lexi and her mom hope her story becomes an inspiration to others.

“I would say never give up on your dreams - to keep going and really, really work hard,” she said. And Dede knows her daughter has a big future ahead.

“I feel as though she will conquer the world in her own little way,” she said.