A little boy from upstate New York got to live out his dream of being a firefighter this week – even though he may never be able to walk on his own, the Utica Observer-Dispatch reported.
Six-year-old Teagan O’Grady, from Westmoreland, N.Y., has spastic diplegic cerebral palsy. He was born four months early, and only weighed 1 pound, 9 ounces, according to his father, Ryan O’Grady.
Three weeks after his birth, Teagan stopped breathing, and the lack of oxygen to his brain caused him to develop cerebral palsy.
"Every day he wakes up with a smile, and that's how he is from sun up to sun down."
- Ryan O'Grady, describing his son Teagan, who is unable to walk
Spastic diplegia is the most common type of CP. It occurs in about 70 percent of CP cases and affects the muscles of the body’s lower extremities – usually those of the legs, hips and pelvis.
On Thursday, members of the Utica Fire Department made Teagan an honorary firefighter for the day, letting him ring the bell several times, ride in the truck and receive a tour of the city’s many stations and training facilities. He even ate lunch with some of the firefighters, the newspaper reported.
O’Grady said his son will have a special spinal surgery called selective dorsal rhizotomy on June 25 in Syracuse, N.Y., which would allow Teagan to possibly walk with the use of a walker. The surgery involves cutting some of the muscle’s sensory nerve fibers that enter into the spinal cord.
Teagan will have to stay in Syracuse, which is about 45 minutes from his home, for about two months and then go through a year of rehab.
“He doesn’t let the disability get to him,” O’Grady told the Observer-Dispatch. “Every day he wakes up with a smile, and that’s how he is from sun up to sun down.”
Besides becoming a firefighter, Teagan hopes this surgery will allow him to play basketball and football.