A Michigan teen who has been wheelchair-bound for the past few years due to a rare genetic disease surprised her classmates by walking across the stage at graduation to receive her diploma, Fox 17 reported.
Alicia Anderson, 18, was diagnosed with Wilson’s disease, a condition that causes copper to accumulate in the body’s vital organs. The disease stripped her of a normal life, and at one point her parents didn’t think she’d make it to graduation or even age 18.
“She was a normal, walking, talking, 16-year-old, and then life kind of threw us a curveball,” Alicia’s mother, Heather Anderson, told fox17online.com.
Wilson’s disease has impacted Alicia Anderson’s ability to walk and speak, but with the aid of talk-to-text technology, she has been able to communicate with her friends and family.
Teachers at her school, Ionia High School, in Ionia, Mich., have also been working with her to learn how to walk— a fact her family only learned on graduation day. It was then that assistants wheeled her onstage, locked her wheelchair, and Alicia stood up and strode across stage with a walker to get her diploma. The entire room erupted in applause.
“It was the best day of my life,” Alicia said.